A story made the headlines some time ago of babies in Yobe state, North Eastern Nigeria going blind. It was rather chilling. Chlorhexidine solution meant for cleaning the cord stump of newborns was being used as an eye drop instead. 3 babies were found to have had corneal ulceration that led to immediate blindness from this inappropriate use of Chlorhexidine.
Nigeria health watch gives an account of the story and the critical issues this situation highlights in the Nigerian health system and drug distribution chain. While many of the issues may not apply to the average pharmacy especially in the urban setting, pharmacists should still audit their practice against this story. This audit would determine if the system you currently employ would be able to forestall the occurrence of a bad outcome such as the Yobe case.
One area the average pharmacy will most likely struggle with, is the ability to recall already dispensed medication. So as a pharmacist, ask yourself, ‘if I were to recall a drug found to have damaging effects, how would I reach out to my patients to alert them in a timely manner?’ This process would most likely be painstaking and virtually impossible to fully complete for most.
An enterprising pharmacy wouldn’t wait until a drug recall happens, they’d setup the systems to engage their patients well before it’s needed. In fact, they might use said system to communicate drug information and show care for their patients who they dispense medications to regularly. This regular engagement will engender loyalty, increase repeat custom and make you garner more new patients through referrals.
The service provided by Wella Health helps pharmacists speedily collect patient details and deliver key drug information and advice. The system sends automatic reminders to promote adherence and encourage attendance for refills. In the event of a recall, instant messages can be sent out specifically to those who are on the medication of interest. Forestalling any adverse outcomes.
The ability to recall is a key requirement for a pharmacy to fulfill the professional duty of great pharmaceutical care to all patients. Don’t wait until you need to carry out a recall to build a system, it will be too late then. Start now and record your patient details, it will serve you well in many ways.
NB – Drug recalls are not that uncommon, according to the United States’ FDA, 1647 were initiated in 2014 alone. See the following resources to view previous stories/ recalls in several jurisdictions: