Careers in Pharmacy – What Should I Pursue?

Pharmacies generally employ two types of professionals: Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians. While both are integral to a pharmacy’s performance, they represent two very different approaches to careers in pharmacy. When deciding what career path is right for you, a lot of factors come into play. In this article, we will outline these two careers in pharmacy so you can make the right choice!

Pharmacist- What is It?

Pharmacists are healthcare professionals who are in charge of dispensing prescription medications to patients. Typically, a pharmacist will fill prescriptions, check interactions of a patient’s prescriptions, instruct patients on proper use of a medication, and oversee pharmacy technician, interns, and various other careers in pharmacy. Many pharmacists own or manage their own pharmacy and are more business minded. Some pharmacists work for pharmaceutical manufacturers, and are involved in the creation of new medications. The median annual wage of pharmacists is very good, punching in at $111,570 in May 2010, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How do I become a Pharmacist?

The path to becoming a pharmacist is unique- while most graduate programs require a bachelor’s degree or four years of undergraduate experience, a Doctor of Pharmacy program requires as little as two, as long as the appropriate prerequisites are met, such as courses in chemistry, anatomy, and biology (although some programs do require a bachelor’s degree). An entrance exam, known as the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT), is also required. Most programs will take about four years to complete, and graduates who want a more advanced pharmacist position will complete a one-two year residency program. Many pharmacists who go on to own their own pharmacies will also acquire a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). Graduates must also pass two exams detailing pharmacy skills and pharmacy law in order to attain a state license. While this process may seem long, it pays off with one of the most rewarding careers in pharmacy.

Pharmacy Technician- What is It?

Pharmacy (or pharmaceutical) technicians help pharmacists dispense prescription medications to patients. They will usually be the ones measuring out prescriptions, compounding medications like ointments, packaging and labeling pharmaceuticals, and performing routine tasks like answering phones and filling forms. The pharmacy technician will work under the supervision of the pharmacist- if the customer has questions about medications or health, the pharmacy technician will arrange for the customer to speak with the pharmacist, as he/she is the more trained of the two careers in pharmacy. Technicians must have great customer service skills, organizational skills, and be detail oriented. The median annual wage of a pharmacy technician was $28,400 in May 2010, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How do I become a Pharmacy Technician?

Becoming a pharmacy technician provides the simpler process of the two careers in pharmacy. Each technician must have a high school diploma or equivalent and pass an exam or complete a formal training program, depending on the state. Many pharmacy technicians will learn their skills on-site, but some will attend vocational schools or community colleges to complete programs in pharmacy technology. These programs detail arithmetic, pharmacy law and ethics, and record keeping. This path will allow for the quickest work straight out of high school for graduates pondering one of the careers in pharmacy.

Both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are absolutely vital to a pharmacy. These two positions are dynamic and rewarding, constantly helping patients get their medications. I hope this article has helped you decide which of the careers in pharmacy is right for you!

Choosing an Independent Pharmacy Over a Retail Pharmacy

Over the years independent pharmacies are being taken over by chain and retail pharmacies and the patients are not in favor, working in an independently owned pharmacy for years I have heard all the complaints. Independent pharmacies are based solely on the patients and their needs. Customer service is the number one priority at independent pharmacies. They provide services and opportunities that chain stores would never think of trying. Seeing how independent pharmacies are becoming less popular is not good for the future of healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry is turning into warehouse style system with no customer service or face-to-face consulting of medications.

By taking away independent pharmacies your taking away well trained professionals who educate and provide information to customers about their everyday medication and the safety and dangers of them. You can walk into any independent pharmacy and have a face-to-face consultation with the pharmacist on any type of question or concern. Believe it or not people have said the pharmacist at retail pharmacies will refuse to speak with you about questions and have you call an answering service if they are too busy. Independent pharmacists not only educate patients on their medication but also provide services and information on immunizations, diabetes management and preventative screenings.

The independent pharmacists and technicians will go well beyond their way to help you handle any type of problems such as transferring your prescriptions to their pharmacy or finding out your correct insurance information. When you call a pharmacy you want to get your medications filled at and they need to be transferred some chain pharmacies can take up to forty eight hours to make the call but with independent pharmacies it will maybe take thirty minutes depending on if they can get a hold of the transferring pharmacy, it is only one simple phone call they make seem like so much work. When patients need their medicine it is normally not something they can just wait next week to pick up or until the pharmacist has “time” to transfer it, it is something they need immediately, even if it is a maintenance drug it is still not good to miss a dose and mess up your body’s routine of it. Also, independent pharmacies have a MUCH shorter wait time than chain or retail pharmacies. They tell you that sometimes it will take up to two days before they can have your medicine ready and you can’t even talk to a person when you call you have to talk to an automated machine to figure that out. In independent pharmacies if it is an easy fill or quick refill we can have you in and out within five to ten minutes.

The next thing I am going to discuss about independent pharmacies is the specialization things they can do for you. Not only do you get to personally talk to the workers and ask specific questions but they will also order things that fit your needs specifically and keep it in stock just for you. Many independent pharmacies stock all sorts of braces, compression stockings, diabetic supplies, and many other items you can’t find in a chain store. Also, they will order something for you if they do not have it, say you wanted a back brace that Velcro’s instead of snaps together; they would be more than willing to order it that day and have it in the next morning. Many independent pharmacies also compound medication, which is a huge deal especially when the manufacturer runs out of a certain medicine. For example last year when the swine flu arrived no one could order Tamiflu, the drug to treat it, but our pharmacists could compound it with the stuff he had and it prevented people of having to drive for miles to find some.

Another advantage to keeping independent pharmacies around is that most of them have a free of charge delivery service. Like the pharmacy I work at we have someone that comes in everyday and takes people who just got out of surgery, someone who is really sick, an older person who can’t drive, or someone who just can’t make it to the store before we close their medicine to them. It makes a huge difference in their day if they do not have to fight the hassle of finding ways to get there or being miserable because they are so sick. It just shows the customers that we really do care about their needs and if we are meeting them.

Another huge advantage to having independent pharmacies is around the holidays when people are taking vacations for longer than a few days and they will run out of their medicine while they are there, the pharmacy will go out of their way to call your insurance and get a vacation supple override so they can enjoy their vacation and not have to worry about how they are going to get their medicine. Also, it never fails whenever pharmacies close for the holidays there is always someone who forgets to call in their medicine before hand and they call the pharmacist at home and he is always prepared to go up to the store, just for them. I have worked at an independent pharmacy for five years and there is not a Thanksgiving or Christmas I remember when out pharmacist wasn’t up at the store for at least an hour.

After seeing all of the advantages and good independent pharmacies have done for people and how we would be affected without them, think before you go to a chain pharmacy that is trying to put these people out of business. Look at what the chains are doing to local business; they are trying to take the “healthcare” part out of pharmacy by pushing it towards being a warehouse style industry. Without independent pharmacies the healthcare industry is going to hurt.

Retail Pharmacy Technician Job Description

I have been writing articles on why and how to become a pharmacy technician, but some recent feedback has made me realize I left out the obvious. What is it that pharmacy technicians do in a pharmacy. Most people figure they help the pharmacist enter prescriptions and count pills. This is true for an outpatient pharmacy, also called a retail pharmacy, but there are many roles for pharmacy techs in healthcare. The rest of this article will discuss the job description of pharmacy techs in a retail or community setting, and provide a bulleted list of tasks. Future articles will cover different pharmacy settings for pharmacy techs and the job descriptions and tasks associated with them as well.

Community/Retail Pharmacy: I have worked retail, and I prefer other settings; however, it is where a large percentage of pharmacy technician jobs are found. What a pharmacy technician can do is determined by the state they work via state laws and rules. In general, technicians cannot provide clinical information to patients or be the final check for prescriptions. In some states, technicians are allowed to provide information on over-the-counter (OTC) medication (ie, medications that do not require a prescription, such as, acetaminophen and ibuprofen). Specific roles that pharmacy technicians can have in a retail pharmacy include: general technician, lead technician, buying technician, compounding technician, and billing/insurance technician. In most pharmacies, pharmacy technicians are general technicians with some of the above listed skill sets. When you go into a larger and busier pharmacy, you can actually have job differentiation where people have assigned specialized tasks (based on the needs of the pharmacy).

Pharmacy technician tasks for retail pharmacies include, but are not limited to:

  • Collecting patient information (insurance and personal information as needed)
  • Entering and processing prescriptions in the computer system
  • Filling and selling prescriptions
  • Requesting refills from doctor offices for patients
  • Compounding medications that are not commercially available
  • Ordering medications
  • Restocking shelves
  • Answering the phone
  • Working with insurance companies on approving payment for certain medications
  • Maintaining the cash register and conducting accounting functions

Retail pharmacies tend to get a bad rap from within the pharmacy profession. Although I prefer hospital (which will be the topic of the next article), I enjoyed my time in a retail pharmacy. I was able to get to know the customers (I like say patients) personally. It is a great feeling when a long-time customer comes to the pharmacy and you know them by name, maybe a little about their family, and most important you know their medical history. Because of this relationship, you are able to ensure that the patient’s medication regimen is optimal, as a technician you can help determine if there are generic alternatives to medications prescribed in order to help the patient save money.

In summary, retail pharmacies are the most common type of pharmacy, and therefore the place where the majority of pharmacy techs are employed. Due to an increasing elderly population (thank you baby boomers), retail pharmacies will continue to increase in demand. If you find a pleasant retail pharmacy to work in, and good staff to work with, a retail pharmacy technician position can be a positive experience.

Pharmacy Technician Job – Three Strategies For Getting A Job

As I searched on EzineArticles for pharmacy technician jobs, I found many good articles written on how to become a pharmacy technician, or various reasons why you should become a pharmacy technician. In general, they all make good points and provide useful information. It has made me think about what we are missing. I do not want to simply rehash the same topics and then add a few of my own thoughts. Then it occurred to me, I have a perspective that few people who are writing articles for pharmacy technicians have. I am the person who sits on every interview for pharmacy technicians in my institution’s inpatient pharmacy. Over the course of just one year, I probably interview about 50 to 60 technicians for about 10 to 12 openings. So here it is, what are three things you can do to get a job when you have just obtained your license/certification/registration (depends on your state), still working on your license, or maybe just moved to a new area and want to find a job (this happened to me as a pharmacy tech, and I will share one of my biggest mistakes when looking for a job)?

Volunteer or complete your required hours (depends on your state requirements for licensure/certification) in a pharmacy practice site you would like to work. Many states require you to obtain practice hours before you become a pharmacy technician. If your state does not require hours prior to becoming a pharmacy technician, then pick a set number of hours (40 to 80 hours should do it) and volunteer at a pharmacy. The pharmacy you choose should be a place you would like to work. If you know you want to work in a hospital pharmacy, then do not obtain your hours or volunteer at a community/retail pharmacy. Next, take advantage of this time by showing your practice site how good of a pharmacy technician you are. The traits I look for the most are someone who is a team player, proactive about taking on any work that he/she sees needs completing, and gets a long with other staff. I am looking for is a good fit, not necessarily the smartest tech, but the one who will be a good team member. What this time really amounts to is a trial period where the pharmacy gets to see how you work and you get to see if you really want a job there. I have had a few students who goof off or text for a large portion of their time in my pharmacy. Unfortunately, they will not even make the interview list for the next open position.
Obtain national certification, BLS/CPR, and be active in one of your state’s pharmacy organizations; and make sure you have these items on your resume. Regardless if your state requires you to get nationally certified or not, you should do it. The two major national certifications that are most recognized are the PTCB and the ExCPT. BLS/CPR (basic life support/cardiopulmonary resuscitation – for the most part it is the same thing) is a good additional skill that most pharmacy managers will consider a bonus. It tells them that the applicant is engaged in healthcare and will more likely be engaged as a pharmacy technician. State pharmacy organization (either the state ASHP affiliate or APhA affiliate) participation is another way to show your commitment to the pharmacy profession. In most states, it cost very little to be a member as a technician. Once you are a member, look for the Website link on joining a committee. If you have options, join the committee that sounds like the most fun (I personally like advocacy or legislative). Now be active in your committee, this is a great way to network with pharmacists and other technicians. Pharmacy is a small world, the more connections you make, the better off you will be. Once you have done some or all of this, make sure your update you resume.
Look on company Websites for job openings and not just the local newspaper or online newspaper site. This was my big mistake. After living on the east coast for many years I moved out to the west coast. I began looking for jobs in the local newspaper and there were a few, but not the ones I was most interested in (I was a sterile compounding tech and wanted to work in a hospital or IV infusion setting) were never open. Fortunately for me, a large health-system (the one I currently still work for after 11 years) was hiring a graveyard technician and didn’t get enough applicants from their internal site so they placed a newspaper ad. After I got a job, I found out about the company job postings Website, and I was seriously bummed that I had wasted months not looking in the right place. While you are on the company Website, do some homework about the company so that you can speak about the company during your interview. I will typically ask applicants why they want a job with my company or pharmacy, if you can respond with an answer that shows you have done some homework on the company, that will impress most interviewers (do not over do it or be cheesy, find something you genuinely like about the company).

I hope this article has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or topics for additional articles, please send them to me by submitting a comment on my Website listed in the author box.

What Is Olympics Cupping Therapy?

Through Olympics cupping, designed for athletes you cannot only enhance your blood flow but at the same time reduce muscle tension and promote the cell repair. It is even beneficial for connective tissues and aids in the formation of new blood vessels present within them. Athletes make use of cupping services by sports physiotherapy center to heal a host of conditions and aliments.

Different Types of Cupping
In the ancient era, cupping was performed with the help of animal horns. Later different cups made up of ceramic and bamboo evolved. Effective suction through these cups was possible with the use of heat, the cups were first heated in fire and then applied. Once they were cooled, they drew the skin due to pressure difference.

Modern cupping utilize cups that are crafted from glass and are rounded like balls. The two main types of cupping include:

  • Wet Cupping
  • Dry Cupping

In wet cupping a combination of medicines and suction is used to treat the patient, while for dry cupping only the suction method is implemented. Your preferences, present condition and the problems that you are going through help you choose the appropriate one.

What To Expect From Olympics Cupping Treatment
During the treatment, a specialized cup is placed on the skin and the vacuum sucks the muscle upwards. This creates a pressure onto the vessels, allowing the muscle to relax and relieves tension. The cups are usually allowed to settle for a period of 5 – 10 minutes after which they are removed and placed at another part of the skin. The process continues until a particular segment of the body has been rejuvenated by the cupping session.

To help athletes make the most of it, practitioners combine the power of cupping along with acupuncture to treat skin issues, digestions and other associated problems.

Cupping is able to cure a wide range of conditions that athletes often suffer at some point or the other and these include:

  • Facial Paralysis
  • Lumbar disc herniation
  • Herpes Zoster
  • Cervical spondylosis

The best part about this therapy is that it has zero side-effects or risks, allowing you to attain a perfect body without any complications.

But, before you begin with your cupping session do make sure that you consult with qualified practitioners about your conditions, past medical records and your expectations from the treatment. Because this ancient integrative medicine requires the support of both practitioners and patients in order to achieve successful results.

Can You Mix Inalienable Rights With the Business of Medicine?

Actually, we think our work is done, simply by asking the question. Thomas Jefferson tossed the wrench into the process by suggesting in the Declaration of Independence that Americans should have inalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Setting liberty and the pursuit of happiness aside, for now, generally, we divide rights into those which are natural versus legal. Clearly, we have some rights simply because they are allowed and supported by our highly malleable laws and legal system. Other rights are considered essentially independent of law, current acceptable social manner, contemporary political correctness, and leanings of the present government. These rights are seen as expected or natural. And, that which is natural or universal comes to be seen as inalienable.

Rights define our senses of behavioral freedom and sense of entitlement. They circumscribe our expectations of our behavior, that of others, and that expected of corporate entities which are often referred to as if sentient. In our civilization, a body of people of shared civil manners and rights are the bricks and mortar forming the infrastructure of morality, law, and governance we share.

From this point, you work backward. Considering government to be the arbiter, the issues pertinent to unalienable rights are then based upon the society’s decisions defining our morality. Morality is an essential element because inalienable rights generally address the “good,” by necessity defining the bad, right, wrong, and so on. Of course, different religious/spiritual groups, Atheists, legalism and the undecided regarding a source of ultimate moral authority never all agree on the “good”. Even inalienable rights are always a socially dynamic issue, including the definitions and rights pertaining to “life”.

If in the U.S. there is such an entity as an inalienable right to life, then such encompasses the inalienable right to that which keeps you alive. That is, you cannot live without attending to the needs for food, water and all that which protects you from, or is applied in response to the adverse effects of living in our world (AAOL). We do not all have access to ideal food and water, but we shall also be put that aside for now. However, what is society’s responsibility to address the AAOL on people’s well-being? If the effects of AAOL are physical and mental illness, injury, disease, and disability, then it would appear that comprehensive medical care for our citizens is the appropriate response to addressing this inalienable right.

Presume that everyone both empowered and relevant to considering the above arguments drew comparable conclusions. In that case, they would agree that every citizen should have access to comparable medical care. The challenges then become 1) access as primarily defined by the distribution of care facilities, appropriate service providers, and products, and 2) management of quality and cost of products/services delivery.

The cost of all contemporary medical products, services, and related insurance rises much faster, year over year than personal incomes and net revenue growth of the average business. So, most Americans and their employers are not prepared to handle the costs of medical care purchase directly or via insurance. Issues of access and distribution aside, government intervention to address medical care as an inalienable right then means either 1) marked cost capping and controlling consumer fees, 2) subsidizing patient payments, or 3) a combination. Capping and controlling costs would cause an evolution in the business of medicine. All participants (pharmaceutical companies, medical instruments and soft goods manufacturers, sales/distribution organizations, clinicians, insurers, IT services and others) in the industry would need to reconsider their margins, as well as their ability and willingness to remain in the medical industry. However, our government needs to control the sometimes markedly excessive and inflationary medical billing practices. Capping and controlling costs should ideally be tackled first, addressing runaway fees associated with hospital services, pharmaceutical products, surgical procedures, medical hardware, other medical technologies and insurance coverage. All components of the medical system will resist capping and controlling fee schedules.

Providing patient fee subsidies will always be fraught with inflationary excesses, deductibles and patient portions of bills would need to be eliminated. Even nominal point of service charges could always be a challenge unless the net annual out of pocket personal expenditures do not exceed the price of a visit to a fast food venue eliminate them. Otherwise, the middle and lower economic strata and their [potential] employers would continue to be obliged to choose between eating, acquisition of other necessities, employment and offering benefits. Additionally, service providers should not be allowed to bill in excess of fee schedules, writing off the excesses as tax deductions.

There are many products and services people should not expect to purchase if they have not financially successful in life to the extent of their more affluent neighbors. As such, nobody would suggest that all have the inalienable right to own a brand new luxury automobile, yacht or personal jet. However, if as a society we state that life, including full, high-quality medical care is an inalienable right of American citizens, then we should deliver it, without burdening others. But, there is “no free lunch” even regarding medical care. So what does “full, high-quality medical care for all citizens, without burdening others” actually mean? It may need to be defined in two ways: 1) products and services price caps, and 2) society attitude adjustment.

Regarding society attitude adjustment, as an example, we already provide military services to protect the entire nation without attempting to provide some stratified, sliding scale, itemized bill to each citizen. Medical services could be addressed in a similar manner. If medical businesses were all conscripted, essentially indefinitely subcontracted, to deliver care in a uniform manner (e.g., blend of active military care and preferred provider organization models), with a central payer and QA provider, maybe we could do it.

However, unlike changes in health measures, per capita, government spending on healthcare is a poor indicator of the effectiveness of U.S. medical care. Neither is ACA enrollment a measure of care delivery or effective care (e.g., see if holding a season ticket is a measure of NFL game attendance this year). Throwing taxpayer money at a series of poorly cobbled strategies is not an effective national medical care solution. Inalienable right or not, we cannot deliver broad-based high-quality medical care to all citizens via current medical business models.

Understanding Molecular Medicine and Its Major Advantages

Molecular medicine is a broad concept and it incorporates the study of molecular structures, identifying genetic errors for the cause of a disease, use medical nanotechnology to correct them. The fundamental concept of molecular medicine is the distribution of medicine to the body cells and it is similar to the assimilation of oxygen by a healthy human being. The discipline (molecular medicine) is new. It combines medical studies of modern times with biochemistry. It offers a bridge between today’s medical science and biochemistry. The course of molecular biology includes disciplines like biochemistry, immunology, and biotechnology. Nanotechnology in medicine has many advantages like it leads to diminished costs of treatment, cost-effective and yet high quality drugs. Nanotechnology in medicines help in effective diagnosis and treatment of diseases, it will lead to modern treatment methods, treating complicated medical problems can become simplified.

Benefits of molecular medicine

Molecular medicines and nanotechnology in medicine have their own advantages. These include the following:

  • Molecular medicines can lead to the invention of elegant and cheap surgical/diagnostic tools.
  • Medical diagnosis and research can become effective and efficient.
  • Nano medical devices can be implanted permanently to treat specific medical conditions.
  • Many medical conditions can be prevented.
  • Unknown diseases can be treated effectively.
  • This can lead to semi-automated diagnosis and treatment.
  • The nanotechnology in medicines help to reduce mortality rate, improve health.
  • Using gene therapy or similar treatment methods, organs can be replaced easily.
  • The different biological systems in the body can be improved.

When nanotechnology is applied in medicine then it is known as Nano medicine. It caters to the improvement of human health using Nano tools (tools at the molecular level) of the human body. Such technology in medicine encompasses areas like drug delivery using nano-particles.

The human body comprises of molecules, the use of molecular nanotechnology enhances progress in the human medical services. The Nano medicine helps to understand the functioning of the biological machinery inside the living cells. This understanding helps medical professionals to cater to complicated medical conditions like AIDS, cancer, ageing. All these help to bring a significant improvement of the natural human biological structure. The understanding helps to reduce mortality rate, ensure proper functioning at the molecular level of the humans.

The understanding of the molecular medicine has resulted in developing Nano particles/molecules to help transfer medicine to each cell of the body. For a sick or unhealthy entity, such developments in molecular biology lead to effective treatment of complicated diseases. Using Nano medicine, malignant cells within a human body can be tracked and then treated. This entire process includes targeting of bacteria/viruses/tumors within the body by Nano particles, treating infections, diseases.

Molecular medicine advantages

Other advantages of using Nano medicines are given as follows:-

With Nano medicines, treatment is gentle and advanced. Most of such treatments are non-invasive. Powerful drugs may have side effects which cannot be ignored. By using molecular medicines, one can reduce the effects of the drugs. Since the use of Nano medicines does not involve surgery therefore it is less painful. Another important advantage of using Nano medicine is that it involves small yet highly sensitive diagnostic tools which accounts for better treatment of diseases. Treatments using Nano technology in medicines are cost effective. It is effective to treat complicated medical conditions like cancer.

Nano medicine disadvantages:

Nano-particles used as part of nanotechnology in medicines uses biochemical pathways, affect the different biological processes of the human body. Under such circumstances, a lack of knowledge about the effects of the nano-particles on the human body, it processes can be a disadvantage. The researchers who deal with design of the nano-particles remain concerned about their toxicity and characterization on their exposure to the biological pathways. If the nano-particles are toxic then they can pose severe threat to the humans and the environment. The researchers remain concerned as the people part of the society use the molecular medicine. In certain instances, researchers remain in doubt of the possible outcome of the use of certain Nano medicines.

Nanotechnology in medicines have revolutionized medical treatment. The doctors now see a ray of hope to treat medical conditions and diseases which were not treatable earlier. Nano medicines have their own advantages. However, researches are on to make the most of nanotechnology in the days to come.

Sterility in Medicine

We are lucky to live in this century, one where medicines have been developed to combat most ailments, where we can be sure that the medicines we have are safe and sterile when needed and if we need a surgery, that the tools and equipment needed is all safe, clean and germ free.

Throughout history, they didn’t give much thought to keeping things clean and sterile, but luckily today we know that it is used to promote health and to eliminate the risk of contamination. What does being sterile mean though? Well, sterility is defined as the complete absence of any viable microorganism whether on a surgical tool, on equipment or in medicines themselves.

There are a few different ways that sterility is achieved in the medical and pharmaceutical fields. The first is using steam. This technique was actually invented back in the 1880’s by a man called Charles Chamberland. He came up with the autoclave, a steam sterilizer that used water to create steam to clean surgical tools and kill bacteria between patients. Today we still use this technique to clean glassware and surgical instruments.

What about things that can’t withstand high temperatures? In the case of sensitive electronic components, plastics and cardboard that need to be sterilized, the technique is EtO or EO, and it uses Ethylene Oxide gas as the sanitizing agent.

Another way to sanitize things is by the use of dry heat. This is used for things like needles and metal instruments that can get very hot with no worry that they will disintegrate.

But what about medicines themselves? They can’t be steamed, but they can go through the process known as aseptic processing. This takes a sterile medicine and packages it in a sterile container using flash heating. It is a task that also requires the use of clean rooms, bacteria retaining filters and dry heat. By using this technique however, drugs can be imported and exported anywhere in the world without the need for refrigeration and will be sterile when they arrive at the patient.

Sterile medicines, equipment and tools all help to provide the best care possible to us when we are sick. We don’t have to worry about contamination as the risks for it is low if all temperatures, gases, humidity and pressure levels have been accurately monitored throughout the sterilization process to ensure validity and effectiveness. Medicine has come a long way and the results are safer and more reliable than ever before.

Aseptic Processing

If you go back in time, hygienic practices weren’t even heard of let alone carried out. Medicines were made primarily of plants and whatever else was on hand and even, during the Victorian period when pharmaceuticals became more main stream, they weren’t very worried about how sterile the compounds were.

Today of course, pharmaceuticals are big business and having a product delivered to a patient sterile and ready to go is the norm. We’re talking eye drops, ear drops, inject, infusion products and the like, all things that have to remain sterile until ready to use.

By definition, something that is sterile has the absence of any viable microorganism, and the specification is unchanging and independent of the manufacturing process of the drug in the first place. To make a sterile product then, means filling and sealing the product containers under high quality environmental conditions, with care and with the same practices in place day after day.

When you are talking foods, beverages and medicines, keeping them sterile is a process called aseptic processing. This means that the sterile product is packaged in such a way as to keep its sterile rating. It is accomplished by flash heating which uses less energy than other techniques while (in the case of food) retains more nutrients. When you are talking pharmaceuticals, the ante is upped and the procedure also includes the use of clean rooms, bacteria retaining filters, and either dry or steam heat.

Some examples of food and drinks being in a sterile container include tetra juice boxes and drink pouches, but for medicines, they are stored in plastic or glass containers as these materials form a tight seal against microbiological organisms, contaminants, and degradation of the substance being carried. Using aseptic processing means you no longer need refrigeration and it makes worldwide import and export safe and economical.

Aseptic containers range in size from tiny ones that hold just a few ounces of medicine to ones that can hold eight million gallons in a tank on an ocean liner. Companies that package these medicines and the like can then send their product all over the world, knowing that once it reaches its destination, it is still a viable, sterilized product and will remain that way until it is used for a patient.

The next time you have a prescription for eye drops or have medicines administered by injection or drip, you can be sure those medicines are sterile, all thanks for aseptic processing.

Cosmetic Medicines Ordering, Storage, Supply and Incident Reporting

This article gives an overview of the systems and processes that must be followed by cosmetic clinics when supplying prescription medicines.

A prescription medicine or drug legally requires a qualified doctor, dentist, nurse or pharmacist to write a prescription for a named patient. The list of drugs and prescribing qualifications may vary in different countries.

A cosmetic clinic must ensure that all medicines are ordered, stored and supplied within the legislative and other relevant pharmaceutical guidelines available.

Therefore ordering, storage and supply of medicines for use within the practice must be undertaken according to appropriate procedures and guidelines to ensure all relevant legislation and pharmaceutical information is adhered to.

Any medicines stored within a typical cosmetic clinic are those used for aesthetic purposes, this includes drugs such as Botox ® and Hyaluronidase. These must be stored according to manufacturer’s guidelines in a locked refrigerator or locked cabinet as appropriate. The temperature of the refrigerator should be monitored and documented daily. If the temperature is found to be outside the recommended range the pharmacy supplier must be informed as soon as possible and if necessary the medicines are returned to the supplier and a new supply obtained.

Supply of Medicines and Maintaining Patient Records for Cosmetic Clinics

The Medical Practitioner is responsible for maintaining a record of medicines obtained from the supplier for use during treatment. A copy of the prescription is retained in the patient’s notes and the following information is noted in the Medicines IN register. The Medical practitioner must include the following details:

– the name of the medicine (generic)

– the dose provided by the pharmacy

– the amount provided by the pharmacy

– the format of the medicine (oral I IM etc)

– the batch numbers and expiry dates

The Medical Practitioner is responsible for ensuring that details of the medicines administered are recorded in the patient notes, including:

– the name of the medicine (generic)

– the dose provided

– the route of administration

– the batch number and expiry date of the medicine

– the date and time of administration

The Medical Practitioner must also document in the Medicines OUT register the name of the patient the medicine was administered to and the date and time of administration. This will ensure an audit trail is available for each practitioner.

All medicines not used or expired must be returned to the pharmacy.

In conclusion only a medical professional should be accepted on a cosmetic training course. This will ensure all practitioners have experience with the use of prescription only medicines and record keeping. The medical practitioner who facilitates a cosmetic intervention should be a qualified doctor, dentist, nurse or pharmacist. These specialists have the prerequisite medical experience plus understand their legal and ethical requirements in prescribing, dispensing and administration of such drugs.

Any errors with the medication must be recorded and reported.

Reporting a Medication Incident

A cosmetic clinic must ensure that all medication incidents follow local legislative and other guidelines for your country of practice. The following is based on the UK CQC guidelines.

All practitioners involved with medication prescribing, dispensing or administration must be aware of the procedures to be followed in the event of a medication error or near miss.

Medication errors or near misses will occur despite having risk procedures in place, and all personnel involved in medication prescribing, dispensing or administration are at risk of being involved an error or a near miss. Because of this, comprehensive reporting of all medication incidents is crucial to enable the organization to learn from mistakes and improve practice wherever possible.

All incidents involving medication prescribing, dispensing or administration, ‘near misses’ and serious drug reactions must be documented on the Incident Report Form. A medication error is a preventable incident or omission that results in an increase in the risk of patient harm. A ‘near miss’ is a medication error that is discovered before it reaches the patient, thus preventing harm to the patient.

What to Report

The following are some of the issues that require an incident report:

– incorrect dose administered (both over and under dosing)

– incorrect route of administration

– incorrect rate of administration

– incorrect drug administered

– administration to the wrong patient

– failure to document administration in the patient’s medical notes

– administration of an expired drug

– prescribing errors

– incorrect labels

– allergies not recorded

– serious adverse effects including allergic reactions

Near Misses will also be recorded on the Incident Report form.

How to Report Medication errors

Medication errors involving administration to a patient will be documented in the patient’s notes. The Medical Practitioner should inform the patient.

The incident should be documented fully before the end of the day. This report form must be completed by the Medical Practitioner and given to the Practice Manager without delay.

Follow Up Procedures for Medication Errors

A follow-up is undertaken by the Medical Practitioner to ensure the safety of the patient. If necessary the patient must be referred to the nearest Emergency department for further review. The Practice Manager must undertake an investigation into the event ensuring a statement is taken from those involved.

The incident must be discussed at the next Clinical Governance meeting and an action plan developed to aim to prevent recurrence; this may include further training for the personnel involved.

Any severe medication incident must be reported to the within 24 hours of it occurring.

I hope you enjoyed the article. For more information about medicines and their regulations you can check with the Department of Health and MRHA in the UK. In the USA please refer to The Food and Drug Administration (FDA).