Weaknesses of Procurement procedures followed by 24 Hours Pharmacies in France
As per the accepted worldwide standards, pharmaceuticals are used in the care, treatment, and prevention of illnesses. They range from paracetamol used to relieve minor aches and pains, to prescription drugs for ongoing health conditions. They also include specialized drugs for the treatment of cancers. 24 hours pharmacies ( renseignement téléphonique 24h geoallo ) in France purchase and use pharmaceuticals on a large scale. It is estimated that over $200 million is spent in procuring different types of pharmaceutical products within a year. Pharmaceutical companies also spend millions of dollars each year in researching and developing drugs.
We can, therefore, conclude that medicines and medical supplies consume are the major portions of the expenses incurred by 24 hours pharmacies in France. Over the recent years, the rising of drugs and medical supplies cost has directly affected the total expenses of the pharmacies. Thus, inventory systems implemented by these pharmacies should be developed in a cost-effective manner. The stock systems that support sufficient products to each department are required. Nonetheless, any cases of overstock may cause more financial problems and take time to be resolved. On the other hand, drug shortages can unpleasantly affect drug dispensation, treatment, and may result in a medication error.
According to many of the 24 hours pharmacies in France, causes of drug shortages were described may be; unexpected demand, natural disasters, reduction in production capacities among other reasons. This means that having very fewer drugs used over a period of time and low stocks should be prevented. The purchases of the pharmaceuticals are governed by government policies and public procurement standards. The procurement policies aim to guarantee pharmacies achieve value for money, give suppliers fair access to government procurement opportunities and demonstrate transparency and accountability. Compliance with the policies provides assurance the general public and the government that public money is spent appropriately.
The basis of this article is to discuss and examine pharmaceutical purchasing to see if these standards are met. Pharmaceuticals products that are purchased by 24 hours pharmacies in France must be cautiously managed to prevent illegal access and use. Most medicinal products are toxic if taken in excess and some are strongly associated with addiction and abuse. Risks emanating from unauthorized access and use of pharmaceuticals are noteworthy and include:
Financial losses to the pharmacy through pilferage
Pharmacy staff working under the influence of addictive pharmaceuticals, which is a risk to patient care. Immense effects on health and social due to illicit drug use and addiction. Pharmaceuticals not being available for genuine medication and patient care.
Poor controls over pharmaceutical procurement procedures mean that there lacks assurance that; purchases always represent value for money, are transparent, and demonstrate open and effective competition. During a recent research done to ascertain the weaknesses of procurement procedures implemented by 24 hours pharmacies in France, the following was discovered. Most purchasing procedures and practice in 24 hours pharmacies in France do not conform to government and Department of Health policies.
A substantial number of the pharmaceutical procurement activities looked into failed to meet government procurement standards. As if this was not enough, the most common weakness displayed by most pharmacies was failing to adequately document purchasing decisions. Pharmacies can also utilize the modern purchasing system to help purchasing officers comply with policies. Some aspects of purchasing contract management used by a number of 24 hours pharmacies have been poor. In addition, potential conflicts of interest linked to pharmaceutical purchasing are not managed well. This signifies that there is a probability that purchasing decisions could be inappropriately influenced by individuals for personal gains.
Some pharmacies in France do not have reliable information to identify and manage conflicts of interest evolving from gifts and benefits provided by pharmaceutical companies to pharmacists. There are policies established by the Department of Health that clarifies staff obligations for reporting acceptance of gifts from suppliers. However, the Department is yet to finalize its revised policy on acceptance of travel sponsorships.
A few pharmacies did not have an official, documented process to evaluate and approve their officers’ choice of pharmaceuticals. In actual sense, some pharmacy has left the choice of medicine to be procured in the hands of their procuring officers. The officers are at liberty to buy the type and quality of medicine that pleases them. This is not in conformance to the government standards guiding procurement of pharmaceuticals.
Key controls and procedures have been implemented in pharmacies, particularly in patient care areas. This has gone a long way in enhancing the administration of pharmaceuticals to patients. However, some stock management and control deficiencies are yet to be addressed. This presents an unacceptable risk of unauthorized access and use of pharmaceuticals. The pharmacy processes for taking receipt of pharmaceutical deliveries from suppliers are not well controlled. Most pharmacies do not have specific officers or pharmacists to be the over-all in charge of the delivery unit. This can enhance the correctness of deliveries as may have been specifically noted in the purchase order. In various pharmacies, there was no clear guidance for pharmacists and doctors ( Dentiste urgence ) on how to measure and account for liquid pharmaceuticals. This is a risk that may set in motion both under and over reporting, and losses of stock.
Some of the processes used to destroy and dispose of expired or spoilt pharmaceuticals are not well controlled. Disposing of most of these items has become so casual and this will definitely have a very bad effect on the environment. Pharmacies should be encouraged to have sufficient and better procedures for waste disposal. Supervision of patient care area should be in compliance with regulations and policies. In most pharmacies, it is currently inconsistent and not comprehensive. The current situation in most 24 hours pharmacies in France has given leeway to a limited guidance of material available to assist staff to conduct effective investigations. Most of these discussed weaknesses can have easy and satisfying solutions that are readily available for adoption by any pharmacy management. The solutions to these weaknesses could enhance the performance of pharmacies in procurement activities.