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Swedish prescription safety programme

International partnership provides national drug utilisation review programme for Swedish pharmacies to improve prescription safety

People in Sweden who visit the Apoteket pharmacy chain will benefit from its partnership with US company Medco, which has developed one of the first national centralised drug utilisation review (DUR) programmes outside the US to improve prescription safety.

The system, called Elektroniskt ExpeditionsStod (EES), will be owned and operated by Apotekens Service AB, a national pharmacy supplier to the Swedish healthcare system. Following its pilot integration into 10 pharmacies in mid-October, it will now be available throughout Sweden by early 2010. Medco partnered with Apoteket to develop the system and will provide ongoing support.

Local DUR systems are common in European pharmacies, but Medco's system has been adapted and re-engineered to warn pharmacists about potential safety issues in the patient's complete medication history across all pharmacies and prescribers. Medco customised the clinical safety system to incorporate drugs and clinical guidelines available in Sweden.

"Medco has developed exceptional patient safety protocols at all stages of pharmacy care and this initiative shows how we can leverage our US innovations to improve patient safety and healthcare systems," said John Driscoll, Medco president for new markets. "We shared our best practices and adapted operational capabilities to enhance Sweden's pharmacy care model, which we know will save lives."

Each time a prescription is ordered and patient consent is obtained, it will undergo an automatic rules-driven review that examines a patient's history to identify any potential danger of the new prescription interacting with other medications or aggravating existing medical conditions.  

Deregulation of Sweden's pharmacy market in July 2009 has opened the country up to competition from new entrants.

Medco also has a majority stake in Europa Apotheek, a clinical services pharmacy serving the German and Dutch markets, and a joint venture in pharmacy/home healthcare in the UK with United Drug.

7th January 2010

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