In Italy, 25 hospitals use the closed loop medication management system for unit doses developed by Deenova.
The majority of the Italian hospitals in which Deenova supplies, manages and track unit doses (21 out of 25) are in the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy (such as in the cities of Bergamo, Piacenza, Cremona and Tortona). These Deenova customers have had to confront an unprecedented emergency that rattled and tested their organisational structures to the core, and put their medical personnel (doctors, nurses and pharmacists) under enormous pressure, forcing them to work for weeks in a continuous state of emergency.
Thanks to the professionalism and dedication of our staff, Deenova did not once interrupt its service. We followed and applied the strict Government rules and guidance for the protection of our employees, and we continued to provide our services, with a total of around 45 employees operating both through tele-work and on-site, including 20 in Deenova’s facility for unit dose repackaging , and about 90 employees physically present in the different hospitals working side by side with the patient care teams. Our customers are not simply our clients, they are our partners, our colleagues, part of our community, and we were and we will continue to be on the front line with them.
I am very pleased to report that notwithstanding the fact that our employees were continuously present in fully Covid-19 wards, delivering unit doses and providing all type of assistance required, not a single one of our staff was infected. To ensure the continuity and the integrity of our service to the hospitals, at no extra cost to Deenova customers, we employed additional 5 headcount to face illnesses, quarantines or to support those colleagues who were simply too exhausted to carry on their mission in such difficult and exceptional conditions.
It was of course a team effort between Deenova and our customers, and we did all that we could to provide our steadfast support during this Covid-19 emergency, for example:
- The hospital pharmacies, often struck by absences caused by Covid-19 and a consequent reduction in personnel numbers, were able to rely onthe real-time control ofinventories through our IT and automation systems, and therefore on the non-stop availability of therapies.
- The nurses, stretched beyond limits by the Covid-19 emergency, continued to receive the personalised therapies for each individual patient, without having to worry aboutthe logistical and supply aspects.
- The continuous and constant changes of wards’ configurations, both in terms of patients being moved andstructuralre-organisation, were followed and supported in real time by Deenova software, technologies and service, guaranteeing the availability of therapies.
- Our clients asked for our assistance in preparing in unit doses thedifferent emergency and innovative therapies that were experimentally introduced in the various phases of the epidemic (antiretroviral, antimalarial drugs, …) to fight the Covid-19 virus; all our customers were able to rely on us for an immediate unit dose packaging service for the introduction of new therapies, without increasing the work load of pharmacies, already working under stressful conditions and a permanent emergency basis.
The pandemic has tested not only hospital pharmacies but has also required a great effort to provide home care treatments to Covid-19 patients. Two regional health authorities, Liguria and Piedmont, asked Deenova to prepare unit doses of hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 patient for self-administration at home. The commercial packaging of Hydroxychloroquine is of 30 tablets, but for Covid-19 standard therapy, only 16 tablets are needed. Accordingly, by efficiently using Deenova unit dosing repackaging, two patients were able to be treated almost completely with the original 30 tablet commercial packaging, instead of having to waste the excess (14) tablets if the traditional supply method of a blister box was used.
This was of course not just an issue of financial savings; as government regulations in Italy warned, but a way to ensure continuity of care while some manufacturers were unable to meet, in determined periods, the immediate and massive demand for Hydroxychloroquine.
Through the Deenova unit-dose repackaging facility in Gragnanino and the unit dose laboratory within the San Martino hospital at Genova, our technologies and staff converted the bulk blister packages of tablets into unit doses (in accordance with GMP standards) that a government entity called Civil Protection distributed to hundreds of community pharmacies (590 of them just in Liguria) in order to allow access to these emergency Covid-19 therapies to the largest possible number of patients, and then to trace, control and manage them.
More significant in terms of cost savings was the conversion into unit doses of antiretroviral drugs, usually for HIV patients, but which were alternatively utilised for Covid-19 patients. In this case, the Covid-19 therapy requires 7 doses, while the medication is supplied in packs of 30 (Average costs >€300). By repackaging these antiretroviral medications from bulk packages into unit doses, Deenova was able to supply a full course of therapy for 4 patients from one original packaging.
These were just a few examples, the most significant ones, but there are many more. The hospitals, that are using our automation systems for the management and traceability processes, clearly recognise the benefits not only in terms of cost savings and reduction of therapy administration errors, which are normally not quantified, but in also in terms of optimization of logistic and organization processes, which proved to be crucial in this emergency situation.
In conclusion, I attach a news article from the Times of Malta. As you may be aware, Deenova has a contract with the Government of Malta for the management and traceability of drugs and medical devices. Notwithstanding the Covid-19 emergency and the pressures being faced by the Maltese Health System, the Minister for Health and Deputy Prime Minister on 18 April 2020 took the time to visit and inspect our Maltese unit dose repackaging plant, underlining its importance in supporting the hospital Pharmacy.
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CEO Deenova Srl