Minimising wastage of critical medicines during COVID-19: updated August 21st 2020

Tim Root, Assistant Head, Medicines Assurance, NHS Specialist Pharmacy Service, Specialist Pharmacy ServicePublished

During the emergency period relating to COVID-19, it was essential to minimise wastage of critical medicines. Guides published in May 2020 provided advice to staff in pharmacy aseptic units and to staff in clinical areas, on how to safely provide a supply of injectable medicines to meet the increased demand whilst minimising wastage.

The guidance contained in these documents

  • applied specifically to injectable medicines used in the treatment and supportive care of COVID-19 patients when UK-wide supply of these medicines is severely constrained.
  • and was intended to be interpreted in the context of local medicines policy and governance processes

The guidance has been withdrawn and replaced by the August 2020 document attached below.

Now that the medicines supply chain has stabilised and with immediate effect from August 10th 2020, healthcare professionals are advised to revert to pre-COVID practice and to follow previous guidance in the form of NPSA Alert 20: Promoting Safer Use of Injectable Medicines Patient Safety Alert NHS/PSA/D/2016/008: Restricted use of open systems for injectable medication. NPSA Alert 20: Promoting Safer Use of Injectable Medicines

Pharmacy aseptic units should also revert to business-as-usual practice.