Pharmacy professionals have an obligation to stay informed on issues that may affect patient safety. These issues could include recalls, shortages, adverse reactions or other safety notices.
In many cases, patients may have questions regarding their drug therapy that may have arisen as a result of a media story, a conversation with another healthcare professional or their own research.
Consider the following:
- A patient heard a media story about a recall of their medication due to an error in a manufacturing process. They want to know whether they are affected and what they should do with their medication.
- A patient has been advised by another healthcare professional that the drug they are taking has been found to have potentially serious side effects that were not previously identified in the information provided with their drug. They want to know if the pharmacist is aware of this side effect and their advice on what to do.
- A patient has been taking a medication for years. They have heard that there is currently a shortage and are worried about their future supply. They want to know whether they will still have access to their medication when they need it.
All of these are situations that pharmacy professionals should be prepared to discuss with the patient and/or their caregiver. Even if the pharmacy professional is unaware of the specific issue when the patient asks, they should know where to find the information needed. Additionally, there may be times when pharmacy professionals need to be proactive in their communications to patients.
Pharmacy professionals can stay informed through:
- Notices from drug manufacturers and suppliers
- Internal communications (e.g. company intranet, memos)
- Notices from Health Canada such as
- Drug Shortages Canada
Ultimately, under the College’s Designated Manager – Medication Procurement and Inventory Management Policy, the Designated Manager of the pharmacy must ensure that there is a method for identifying products that are outdated, deteriorated, recalled, obsolete, or hazardous. Additionally, the Designated Manager will support safe medication practices within the pharmacy through the development of policies and procedures to ensure that clinically relevant information that impacts patient care is immediately available to appropriate staff members, including drug recalls, advisories, and warnings (see the Designated Manager – Professional Supervision of Pharmacy Personnel policy).