The responsibility for managing this important asset rests with the entire pharmacy team, however the technical nature of this work lends itself well to an expanded role for pharmacy technicians. A dynamic and experienced pharmacy technician can ultimately assume responsibility for setting up and monitoring an optimal inventory management system. By going through the inventory, but also taking into account the expiry dates without breaking the cold chain. Inventory management includes both the maintenance of merchandise accounts and their monetary value, as well as the receipt, storage, returns and physical counting of merchandise. To achieve the expected benefits, this management must be linked to the purchases. Any inventory management system should aim to increase customer service and profitability as much as possible while minimizing investment.
Further, all pharmaceutical software is capable of managing the maintenance of a permanent inventory. The arrival of barcodes and live orders has greatly simplified the inventory management steps. Products can be entered into the system by scanning their UPC (Universal Product Code) or invoice. (Wals, 2014) The price update can be done directly by the supplier or the vendor of the software. You still have to check the inventory by manual counting. Inventory counting is generally done at least once a year, but most pharmacies more frequently count expensive or high turnover items. On the other hand, a good purchasing system is essential to maintaining a good investment in stocks (Quiett, 2012). It requires knowledge, experience and implementation of procurement policies. pharmacy technicians can take on this responsibility, allowing the pharmacist to focus on patient care.
Prescription systems and those for identifying medical errors help in the designation of drugs, and they should be standardized to avoid confusion. Essentially, all active drug ingredients have an International Nonproprietary Name (INN), and the drugs are designated by their INN in all standardized lists to identify them. Using prescription management systems, INN designation can also be used in prescription protocols and management documents to avoid confusion that brand names, which vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, may cause. Furthermore, applying INN designation is also useful in the case of generic drugs that can be manufactured by any pharmaceutical company and are marketed most often under their INN or sometimes under a new commercial name.
Indeed, the pharmacist must be precise during the formation of his or her stock to avoid medication stock management errors, which may cause several issues. For example, when a pharmacist fails to realize that some medicines are out of stock in time, he or she may lack funds for restocking thus be unable to supply the drugs leading to a financial shortfall in addition to the potential risks for the client (Quiett, 2012). Additionally, over-stocking a drug can cause waste (financial) because the drugs are perishable. As such, for pharmacists should ensure that they are aware of their stock at all times to be able to plan, thus avoid unnecessary emergency situations.
Inventory management benefits both the pharmacist and the client in several ways. It ensures that drugs are available when needed and at the same time that a pharmacy’s operational costs are kept minimal. Additionally, the possibility of medication errors minimized, thereby reducing associated risks. The traceability of drugs is also guaranteed, thus limiting cases of abuse of prescription medicine and lack of accountability.
Fathi, M. (2018). A queueing approach to production-inventory planning for supply chain with uncertain demands: a Case study of PAKSHOO Chemicals Company. PAKSHOO Chemicals Company.
Quiett, L. (2012). Clerical and Data Management for the Pharmacy Technician. https://books.google.com/?id=i0BuCgAAQBAJ&pg=PR11&dq=%22used+throughout+the+many+practice+settings+of+pharmacy%22#v=onepage&q=%22used%20throughout%20the%20many%20practice%20settings%20of%20pharmacy%22&f=false
Wals, K. D. (2014). Strategic Positioning of Inventory to match demand. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 12 (4), p 818