Getting patients to return unused oral anticancer drugs to the pharmacy and then having the pharmacy redispense those medications that meet quality standards is a promising strategy to save money and reduce waste, a Dutch study has found.
Ongoing drug shortages and growing drug prices contribute to access issues in oncology.
Researchers compared the reduction in drug waste and cost savings from redispensing oral anticancer drugs versus the standard practice of disposing of them.
Outpatient pharmacies at four Dutch hospitals participated. A total of 1071 patients with cancer receiving oral anticancer drugs for at-home use were given special packaging for returning unused medication to the pharmacy.
The pharmacy ensured the quality of returned drugs based on authenticity, appearance, remaining shelf-life, and adequate storage temperature.
A total of 13,069 oral anticancer drug packages, containing an average of 27 daily doses per package, were dispensed during the study period.
Overall, 16% of patients (n = 171) returned 335 (2.6%) unused oral anticancer drug packages, of which 68% were redispensed after passing quality control.
Redispensing unused oral anticancer drugs reduced waste by 68% compared with disposing of them and provided a mean net annual cost savings of €576 (US $682) per patient per year.
When just those patients who took targeted oral anticancer drugs for up to 24 months were looked at, the mean net annual cost savings associated with the quality check protocol increased to €934 (US $1019) per patient or of only the visual quality check was €1348 (US $1474) per patient.
“New strategies targeting waste are required to improve financial and ecologic sustainability of expensive therapies, such as oral anticancer drugs, that frequently remain unused by patients,” the authors write. “These findings provide a waste-minimizing strategy to contribute to sustainable and affordable access to drugs.”
The study, by Elisabeth M. Smale, PharmD, of Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands, and colleagues, was published online November 16 in JAMA Oncology.
Novel drugs are substantially more expensive in the United States and the Dutch findings might underestimate potential cost savings generated through redispensing programs in the United States. Participants were prompted to return unused oral anticancer drugs through reminders at the pharmacy but all such drugs may not have been returned.
The study was funded by ZonMw, the Dutch national organization for health research and development. The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
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Cite this: Redispensing Unused Cancer Meds Cuts Waste, Saves Money – Medscape – Nov 21, 2023.
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Publish date : 2023-11-21 15:46:39
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