GHP / Q4 2018 21 3 Easy Ways to Optimise the FMD Decommissioning Process Author Diederik de Bruijn is a Pharmacist Consultant and FMD solutions expert at Optel Group https://www.optelgroup.com/ healthcare/ it is far worse to potentially have a situation whereby a patient is waiting for medication because the stocks held cannot be dispensed due to an inability to decommission for a wide range of reasons, than having to handle unboxed stocks. We have explored both approaches and it is important to acknowledge the different arguments about when decommissioning should ideally take place. It may be simpler and more efficient to decommission at the item level just before dispensing, however it is also good practice to do so when goods first arrive on site. Instead a dual approach may be the best option, whereby goods are verified at goods in to check their authenticity and then decommissioned at the picking stage, as close to dispensing to the patient as possible. Policy making for norms rather than exceptions Another argument in support of decommissioning at the picking stage relates to the issue of product recalls and returns. There are inevitably times when pharmacy products need to be recalled, either because of a manufacturing problem or a reported theft. Some in the industry have proposed that the later a decommissioning takes place, the less likely it will result in incorrect data being collected. They add that as a result of the ‘10-day rule’, whereby once decommissioned, an item can then only be reintroduced to the supply chain within 10 days, later decommissioning is advisable. Pharmacies that don’t leave it as late as possible therefore run the risk of being left with excess stocks of unused items, which they can no longer sell or return to the manufacturer as surplus, if needed. There is another important counter argument to consider in this case too. Since less than 1% of items shipped to pharmacies are returned, it may be unnecessary to justify a process based on exceptions? Adopting the ‘verify at goods in, decommission at picking stage’ policy would also ensure that data held is as accurate as possible, whilst also protecting pharmacists from the impact of the ‘10-day rule’. By taking advantage of specially developed FMD solutions and following our pre-tested recommendations, pharmacies should not be concerned about the approaching compliance deadline. Although the new legislation will mean that working processes need to change and an element of financial investment is clearly involved, thanks to ready- made software solutions, this can be minimised. Ultimately, FMD offers a chance to significantly improve daily operating efficiencies and gives pharmacies access to real time product and patient data. Most importantly, it will facilitate a real change for the better, using traceability technology to directly improve the lives of countless people. Isn’t that a good thing?