In Line with the Times: Top 5 Challenges Faced by the Hospital Pharmacies in 2019

There are many difficult issues facing hospital pharmacies in the year 2019. Those who run the hospitals work hard to assure the patients that enter their establishments, feel better when they leave. This includes making sure they are safe during their stay.

Nearly every person that is admitted into a hospital will have fluids administered. Preparing the IV compounding is a simple task, yet it needs to remain the most antiseptic of everything a pharmacy does.

Below are the top challenges facing the hospital pharmacies in 2019.

1. Sterile Compounding

Many hospitals rely heavily on sterile compounds. Some are used in surgeries, while others are needed to bring a person back to stability after an accident. It is important that the hospital pharmacy has a safe, clean space to mix these lifesaving compounds.

One of the newest options is robotic assistance to help ensure there are no contaminants introduced into the clear liquids. However, this is an expensive instrument and not yet scheduled to appear in many hospitals.

2. Workforce Concerns

Currently, there is a pharmacist surplus and shortage of pharmacy technicians. Well-trained technicians are important to having a strong medication safety program.

Unfortunately, high turnover rates plaque hospital pharmacies, mainly due to low wages. At the other end, pharmacists are working longer and not aging out of the profession as quickly as many other hospital workers.

3. The Opioid Epidemic

Since the invention of more and more powerful painkillers, the addiction rate has skyrocketed. But the pharmacies are not to blame, they merely fill the prescriptions the doctors give to the patients.

In a hospital setting, patients are more likely to have help weaning themselves off the powerful Opioids before they are released to go home. Those patients that are released from inpatient care with Opioids should be monitored closely by their personal physician to avoid continued use and possible addiction.

If a physician has concerns about addiction, they can consult with the pharmacist about switching the Opioid for something similar in pain reducing and less addictive.

4. Mounting Drug Costs

More and more drug companies are creating specialized medication in an elite group of illnesses. This means there are fewer and fewer drugs that treat more illnesses and diseases at one time. This is what is driving prices through the roof.

High medication costs are a burden for the inpatients, however, it does give a boost to the outpatient pharmacy business. This does not seem to be changing in the current year.

5. Drug Shortages

At any given time, there is a shortage of drugs in the hundreds. There is a number of reasons for this shortage, including unavailable compounds, new research issues, and the biggest hurdle, money.

Finding and mixing alternative medications can be expensive and always takes a lot of time and research. Obtaining a patent for generic versions of medications takes years. Manufacturing issues are another concern when it comes to producing more drugs to use in all pharmacies, not just the hospital pharmacies. Although, the hospital pharmacy is where the majority of drugs are being used today.

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