SHPA defends pharmacists after vial sharing risk claims

SHPA has hit back at claims in a pharmaceutical publication about vial sharing in chemotherapy

Earlier this week, pharmaceutical and life sciences publication PharmaDispatch published an article in which companies claimed that “vial sharing” in cancer treatment could put patient safety at risk.

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists has issued a statement in which it rejects the “false and misleading comments” featured in the article.

SHPA president Michael Dooley said that hospitals and TGA-licensed compounding facilities do not put patients at risk.

For stakeholders to indicate that a risk is present is “ill-informed,” he said, and shows a distinct lack of understanding of the systems and processes in place to protect patients.

“Hospitals and licensed compounding facilities operate under strict professional and regulatory standards which are all designed to ensure patient safety and the highest standards of patient care,” says Professor Dooley.

“It is unfortunate that some individuals, without knowledge or experience of contemporary practice, have made incorrect statements that patient safety is at risk and that these statements may worry patients who are receiving treatment.

“Patients can be assured that the medications they receive in hospitals that are prepared either within specialised aseptic pharmacy facilities in the hospital or are procured from licensed compounding facilities are of the highest quality.”

SHPA points out that the availability and use of medicines in Australian hospitals is supported by rigorous governance frameworks and professional standards of practice and by the practice of individual pharmacists.

This is reflected in the high quality of medicines and services that Australian hospital patients receive, it says.

It says that it is ensuring delivery of cancer treatments including chemotherapy to patients remains at the highest quality and is both safe and accessible for all Australians, via its work with the federal government and jurisdictions.

“All of our members but particularly those in SHPA’s Specialty Practice Oncology and Haematology network, are committed to delivering the best patient care at the bedside, and continually strive to optimise patient outcomes,” said Professor Dooley.

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  1. pagophilus

    I notice Americans have a problem with vial sharing. I wonder if it is because of their general attitude of individualism (“I don’t want to pay for somebody else’s health care, even if it ends up costing me more), and it simply spills over into vial sharing (trying to find a problem where one doesn’t exist in an effort to condemn vial sharing which is ultimately cost minimisation through cost sharing).

    Anyone who has worked in a clean room environment or chemotherapy compounding will know there is no risk to patient safety through withdrawing of the contents of a vial twice.

  2. Daryll Knowles

    I absolutely agree with Michael Dooley . It is a commonly held and erroneous belief by some regulators and “stake holders” who are usually non-practitioning and under qualified in the sterile compounding areas that multi dose vials and the issue mentioned in the article put patients at risk. Unfortunately our system for complaints against practitioners while necessary and for the best interest of patents is often abused by unqualified complainants in bureaucratic positions. It’s flawed and a huge waste of public funds but it’s all we have while ever these complainants can make complaints of harm with absolutely no proof of the same. It is the only system of regulation or law in the country that allows this “shoot first evidence later” approach. In conclusion another issue is the anonymity afforded these complainants. In this articles case those known as “stake holders”. Who are they and what is their potential agenda so that they can be judged also?

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