securPharm in Practice for Pharmacies
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Interview with Dr. Christian Gerninghaus, Sonnen Apotheke pharmacy in Schlitz, Germany
What’s new, what’s staying the same? How are pharmacists dealing with securPharm? What role does an order picking system play in all this?
securPharm is a real buzzword at the moment. What effect will the new regulation have on the processes in the pharmacy? Can I cope with the extra requirements? What advantages does the system offer the pharmacy? We recently spoke to Dr. Christian Gerninghaus. He manages three pharmacies in the German state of Hesse with his wife and is staying calm and collected about February 9.
What have you and your team done to prepare for February 9? What do you expect will happen on the day itself?
Dr. Gerninghaus: To be honest, we haven’t really initiated any extreme preparations. A couple of our old scanners have been replaced and our ERP system updated to a new software. My Rowa system is already equipped with the right scanner. What still needs to be done is to find an interface for the communication between the order picking system and the ERP system. That is not necessarily essential for the process but would offer considerable advantages.
In principle, however, I’m staying calm with regard to February 9. Essentially, all the packagings currently in the system or produced by that date will be approved in the system. The interesting time will come when the new packagings arrive, but I see little reason for concern there either. The transition period of five years gives us a considerable buffer. As such, I can’t see any reason for increased returns to the wholesaler.
Many pharmacies think that the step will involve considerable extra work on their part. What effects do you think the changes will have on processes in the pharmacy?
I think that it is important to differentiate between pharmacies with and without order picking systems in this respect. In my opinion, pharmacies with a robot enjoy considerable advantages in terms of handling in the future. The scanning of the packagings when the medicines are entered into the stock allows an early security check during the incoming goods process. From a legal perspective, the security check and booking out of the medicines are only required when they are handed over to the customer. In the future, my order picking system and my ERP system will be able to take care of that independently, as all of the data on the requested packagings will already be available.
Pharmacies without order picking systems will have to scan the packagings by hand prior to handing them over to the customer. That may cause additional delays. Based on a number of projections available on the Internet, this process – locating the code, scanning it, and waiting for the approval – may then take up to 5 seconds. I can’t see that resulting in long queues at the sales counter, but the manual work involved is considerably higher when viewed objectively.
Does the new regulation bring any advantages with it in your opinion? What role does the pharmacist play?
In light of the increase in online sales and the internationalization of the markets, the new legislation is certainly justified. As the falsified medicine rate in Germany is currently only a fraction of a percent, there will most likely not be as many problems here. The role of the pharmacist is certainly important, but let’s say not the be all and end all.
However, the introduction of the data matrix code will bring with it a whole host of other advantages from my perspective. The possibility of automated documentation of the information contained in the code will simplify stock maintenance and quality assurance significantly. For example, in the future, the official expiry date will be read off the 2D code and saved when the medicine is scanned into the system. Until now, we have been working with a theoretical expiry date or had to input the date by hand. It will also be simpler to trace batches when products are recalled in the future. As such, I see the overall outlook with regard to the FMD as positive.
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