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Drugs Audit Project wins award


The project audits controlled drugs from wholesalers to pharmacies

A Pharmacy project which helps prevent drug-related deaths and keep people safe won a Team Award in the recent HSC Safety Forum Awards and is being used as an example for similar projects across the UK.

The Controlled Drugs Reconciliation Project (CDRP) was initiated by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) following the conviction of a community pharmacist for illegally supplying approximately 1 million doses of medicines without prescriptions over a five year period.

The project tightens up security in the distribution chain for prescription medicines from pharmacy wholesalers’ right through to community pharmacies.  It involves auditing and reconciling the supply of medicine to pharmacies against supplies issued to patients on prescription.

Since the project began in late 2014, 2.3 million rows of data providing details for 7.1 million Controlled Drug items have been audited, leading to a number of prosecutions and cautions.

Joe Brogan, Pharmacy lead at the Health and Social Care Board explained, “This project has established a robust process for ensuring that our medicine supply chain is safer, there’s less fraud in the system and it has helped to identify pockets of potential over the counter medicine use and abuse too.  In the long run, this project helps us prevent more prescription drug deaths and has the added benefit of raising clinical governance standards within the community pharmacy network too.”

The project demonstrates the teamwork required between the Department of Health Medicines Regulatory Group (MRG), the HSCB and the Business Services Organisation (BSO) which ranges from information sharing to managing and analysing complex data and following-up where appropriate.

The success of the project has also been shared with Regulators, Commissioners and Policy leads across the British Isles under the Four-Countries Controlled Drugs Forum. The experience of this pilot has been commended at the Forum and the learning from CDRP is being shared actively with various responsible bodies to inform the development of similar processes elsewhere in the UK.