Pharmacies are an integral part of the Medicines Verification System. Pharmacies are the last part of the supply chain before dispensing safe medicines to the patient. Hospital pharmacies and dispensaries, in turn, effectively safeguard the public health medicine distribution.
Pharmacies verify the safety features on the medicine pack – the unique identifier and tamper evidence- at the point of dispensing the medicine to the patient. The pharmacy may also verify the unique identifier earlier, e.g. at the point of receiving the medicines from the wholesaler. However, the unique identifier may not be decommissioned from the repository system before the pack is being dispensed.
The aim is that the unique identifier is always decommissioned from the repository system as close to the end user, the patient, as possible. Thus, the possibility of falsified medicines entering the legal supply chain can be minimized.
Checking the authenticity of the medicine takes place by reading the 2D-matrix on the package with a scanner, followed by ensuring the anti tamper device is intact.
EU legislation enables hospital pharmacies to decommission the unique identifier already at the point of the medicine arriving at the hospital pharmacy. Best practices regarding the time of decommissioning will depend largely on the hospital pharmacy’s stock management and the also the type of the medicine.
On-boarding pharmacies to the system
Pharmacies are connected to the National Medicines Verification System (NMVS) via their own existing IT systems. The system works in the background as far as possible without disturbing the normal routines of dispensing medicines to the patients.
IT partners that provide data systems for pharmacies and hospital pharmacies are closely involved in the work of FiMVO.
The use of the system will generate error messages, for example, in cases of falsified medicines or due to technical failures. The processes to deal with these error messages is available here:
Legislation requires that the system has a built in buffer system. This means that in case of a technical problem, medicines can still be verified and dispensed to the patient. The system ensures that the data is transferred forward once the technical problem has been solved.
For emergency cases a web based application has also been created.
The information included in the 2D-matrix will be visible on the package also in a human readable format. If for some reason the system would be entirely down, the information may be recorded and entered into the system manually when it’s operational again. Such a situation is highly unlikely, but it is important to note that dispensing the medicines to the patient is not hindered in this case either.
FiMVO has created a guideline document for troubleshooting (available only in Finnish):