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Annual for Hospital Pharmacy

Incorrect storage of medicines and potential for cost savings

Lene Colberg, Lone Schmidt-Petersen, Merete Kock Hansen, Brigitte Smolsky Larsen, Sigrid Otnes


Objective Incorrect storage and handling of refrigerated medicines may result in destruction of medicines and financial loss for hospitals. At the Medicine Information Centre we receive and answer queries on drug-related issues. In this study we aimed to investigate and quantify savings made following advice supplied by the Medicine Information Centre in reply to queries regarding the incorrect storage of refrigerated medicines.

Methods A retrospective study was conducted by systematically reviewing each drug when the cold chain had been impaired, in order to determine whether the drug could continue to be used, possibly with a shortened expiry date. Thus, by examining all cases of incorrect storage, the value of drugs that pharmacists advised could be used despite a broken cold chain, could be estimated.

Results The Medicine Information Centre dealt with 171 cases concerning incorrect storage in 2013. Data show that advice from Medicine Information Centre pharmacists resulted medicine cost savings of DKK 13 million (approx. €1.7 million) in hospitals in the Capital Region for that year.

Conclusions Substantial savings can be made by seeking the advice of a team of information pharmacists regarding the incorrect storage of medicines.

Full Text


Official Journal of the European Union. European Commission guideline of 5 November 2013 on Good Distribution Practice of medicinal products for human use (2013/C 343/01).

Lone Schmidt-Petersen et al. Guide for handling queries about incorrect storage of medicine. Poster presented at the 2011 ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting.

Hart RJ, Marshall FSV, Wastage of pharmaceuticals. Lancet, 1976;2:1239–40.

The original source of this article is: Colberg L, et al. Incorrect storage of medicines and potential for cost savings.

Published by

Eur J Hosp Pharm 2017;24:167–169. doi: 10.1136/




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