METHODS: Data were retrospectively extracted from all the Chemotherapy Return Forms in 2016, which is a compulsory documentation accompanying each return of parenteral chemotherapy regimen. The following data were extracted: patient's diagnosis, gender, location of treatment (i.e. ward/daycare clinic), start date of chemotherapy regimen, type of cytotoxic drug returned, dose of cytotoxic drug returned, number of cytotoxic drug preparations returned and reason for return as well as whether the returned cytotoxic drug preparations could be re-dispensed. The cost of wastage was calculated based on the cost per mg (or per unit) of the particular returned cytotoxic drug.
RESULTS: One hundred and fifty-nine cases of returned chemotherapy regimen comprising of 231 parenteral cytotoxic drug preparations were analysed. The total cost of returned chemotherapy regimen for 2016 was €3632, with €756 (20.8%) worth of chemotherapy regimens returned due to preventable reasons and €2876 (79.2%) worth of chemotherapy regimens returned due to non-preventable reasons. Approximately 50% of cases returned chemotherapy regimen were due to deterioration of patient's clinical condition and another 24.5% of cases of returned chemotherapy regimen were attributed to adverse drug reactions.
CONCLUSION: Wastage associated to non-preventable reasons such as adverse drug reactions and preventable causes like refusal of patients can be further reduced by using newer healthcare innovations and establishment of written institutional protocols or standard operating procedures as references for in-charge healthcare personnel when cytotoxic drug-related issues occur. Adoption of cost-saving strategies that have been proven by studies could further improve current cost containment strategies.
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