Pharmacy Today is reporting that during a trial of a new “risk-based audit framework,” surprise visits were made to 90 Auckland pharmacies over May and June. The audits preceded what is expected to be a national rollout of the new framework to other pharmacies across New Zealand.
Pharmacists were audited against 10 criteria. The report, released to the public on 15 August, found that the standard of pharmacy practice “was lower than expected”.
This resulted in the Medicines Council taking action to impose additional operating conditions, restricting services for some non-conformant pharmacies. There was at least one fine for “serious and continued non-compliance relating to refrigerated storage of medicines.”
Jonathan Chilton-Towlejct, writing for Pharmacy Today, said the most common non-conformances detected were
Failing to maintain drug storage fridges at the correct temperature, although this had improved from previous audits. Failing to securely store controlled drugs and issues with record keeping and labelling.
Further inspection audits are being conducted at 10 pharmacies, and pharmacy quality audits at five pharmacies.
In addition, many audited pharmacies are receiving regulatory letters, and notifications are being made to the Pharmacy Council…
…Waitemata DHB board member and Westgate Pharmacy owner Warren Flaunty has been a firm advocate for unannounced audits and believes the pilot result proves they are required.”I’m disappointed to know it was as bad as it was,” Mr Flaunty says. “Pharmacists as a profession are held in high regard and it’s a small number bringing them into disrepute. If pharmacists are given notice of audits, they will make sure everything is up to standard for the audits but might then let standards slip in the years until their next audit” he says.
With an audit possible at any time, pharmacists will need to be extra vigilant about maintaining standards and Mr Flaunty hopes this will be a turning point for pharmacy practice…
Its good to see rigorous audit practices used to improve standards in New Zealand, and as these results demonstrate, standards do need to be improved.
One hopes the rest of the country’s pharmacies will receive the same unannounced audits in the near future. They should be brought up to the required standards for the safety of all concerned.
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