The Pharmacist and Handling of Biotech Drugs
The pharmacist is responsible for the storage, preparation and dispensing of biotechnology drugs as well as patient education regarding the use of these products. In many cases, pharmacists must have additional training in order to be prepared for this role. This is especially true for pharmacists who practice in the ambulatory care setting since these products are increasingly available for administration by the patient in the home. Pharmacies of the future may stock pumps, patches, timed-release tablets, liposomes, implants, and vials of tailored monoclonal antibodies. With gene therapy and gene splicing on the horizon, it is possible that the pharmacist may eventually prepare and dispense gene therapy pro-ducts tailored for specific patients.
This chapter will discuss the general principles that pharmacists need to understand about storage, handling, preparation, administration of biotech pro-ducts and issues related to outpatient/home care. Specific examples will be discussed for illustrative purposes. Table 3 lists selected products along with specific handling requirements for each. For specific products or recent updates, contact the manufacturer. For additional information regarding drug handling and preparation, pharmacist may consult the following publications: American Hospital Formulary Drug Information and the King Guide to Parenteral Admixture (Catania, 2006). In addition to hardcover publications with frequent updates, both of these references are available on-line at www.ashp.org/ ahfs/ and www.kingguide.com. Pharmacy benefits management companies usually own specialty phar-macy companies and provide valuable information via their websites. Two well-known companies are RxSolutions and Caremark. 28 days although refrigeration is recommended. Since most of these products need to be kept at refrigerated temperatures (as discussed below), some pharmacies may need to increase cold storage space in order to accommodate the storage needs.