Monday 6 October 2014

French pharmacists meet to discuss medicinal safety

This week over five hundred pharmacists from across France, and a splattering from the U.K., Switzerland and Germany, have been meeting to discuss the safety of medicines and improvements in administration of healthcare products.

The event took was organized by the French pharmaceutical society Gerpac and it took place from October 1 to 3, at Presqu’île de Giens, located in Hyères-les-Palmiers. Digital Journal was in attendance.
The conference had a primary topic of simulation for pharmaceutical preparation and also on risks for operators, including risk exposure when preparing unit oral dose. There was also ample space given to hot topics on pharmaceutical sciences and technology.
With the running theme on the safety of medicines, this was particularly notable from the opening session, entitled "Evaluation of working practice and chemical contamination - Oncology day care units", which was delivered by Rudolf Schierl and Bettina Kopp. In the session the pharmacists discussed the risks of chemical contamination from some of the most potent anti-cancer drugs to healthcare workers, as well as environmental risks. The conference noted that in the U.S., the pharmacopoeia was being updated to reflect chemical risks.
On a related subject, Thomas H. Connor from the U.S. presented on the latest guidance for the safe Handling of hazardous drugs. Dr. Connor, who works at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, broadcast his season from the U.S. The interactive medium allowed delegates to ask questions.
The integrity of containers was also addressed during the conference. While this may seem like a given, medicines transferred from one container may react with the container in an adverse way, or there could be issues with microbial contamination that can affect the sterility of the medicine. A way to ensure that syringes filled with product are secure was outlined by Alison Beaney.
A view of the Gerpac conference from the top of the stage  looking down as delegates assemble.
A view of the Gerpac conference from the top of the stage, looking down as delegates assemble.
On day two, Dr. Tim Sandle addressed the conference with regard to effective cleaning and disinfection. In this talk, Dr. Sandle stressed to delegates that disinfectants only work effectively if all traces of dirt and protein have been removed from a surface. Dr. Sandle went onto present the key criteria for selecting disinfectants and biocides and the best ways to measure their efficacy.

Another key theme at the conference was training, especially in ensuring that pharmacy technicians do not commit errors and that they are well versed in avoiding the cross contamination of medicines. These themes were covered in presentations delivered by Pascal Bonnabry (Geneva University Hospitals) and Sylvie Crauste-Manciet (Université de Bordeaux, France).
As well as talks, there was plenty of time for pharmacists and healthcare workers to mix and discuss in more relaxed settings, including a lively and frenetic disco.
Conventioneers at the Gerpac 2014 event  held at Presqu’ile de Giens  Hyères  France
Conventioneers at the Gerpac 2014 event, held at Presqu’ile de Giens, Hyères, France
All round it was a pleasant, informative and enjoyable conference. Even some of the local wildlife seemed to enjoy it.
A seagull lands on the balcony at the Gerpac conference 2014  at the Presqu’ile de Giens  Hyères ...
A seagull lands on the balcony at the Gerpac conference 2014, at the Presqu’ile de Giens, Hyères, France

Posted by Tim Sandle

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