‘Game-changing’ unit opens at SCUH, means pharmaceutical formulations can now be produced on site

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Pharmacy Aseptic Production Unit

The Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS) Pharmacy team has opened a compounding unit at Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH), meaning staff now have the capability to produce pharmaceutical formulations on site.

The ‘Pharmacy Aseptic Production Unit’ can produce intravenous infusions and/or injections of chemotherapy agents, monoclonal antibodies and investigational medicines.

Director of Pharmacy Brett Dalgliesh said it is a game-changer for both staff and patients.

“It means we can support development of tertiary level research and improve patient access to clinical trials through enabling local preparation of short expiry medication,” Mr Dalgliesh said.

“It also enhances our delivery of cancer and haematological services for our patients and reduces the need to send them to another HHS for treatment as we can develop specialist services on site such as stem-cell transplantation.

“Local production will also support the Hospital in the Home (HITH) and ophthalmology services to enable timely treatment and discharge of patients by supplying specialised products that are not commercially available. Lack of in-house services has previously resulted in delays in patient access to these medicines.”

Two staff members are running the unit, and both have extensive experience in aseptic production of pharmaceutical formulations.

Pharmacist Christine Baum said all products are made subject to a patient prescription and under the conditions of operating as a stat production facility governed by the principles of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).

“It is not a TGA licensed production unit so we cannot manufacture aseptic products without a prescription nor can we ‘batch’ produce. Products are also subject to expiry restriction to a maximum of 7 days (hence the term ‘stat’ production),” she said.

“Preparation of sterile eye drops is also achievable where commercial products are not available.”

The Pharmacy Aseptic Production Unit has been opened to align with the SCHHS trajectory towards offering tertiary level services and research capabilities.

Initial operational hours will be driven by demand, however, will remain between 8:00am-2:30pm. As the workload and service scope increases, it is anticipated further staff will be appointed to the unit and hours will be extended.