Remote pharmacy verification, also known as Remote Pharmaceutical Verification (RPV), is the process of managing drug distribution from a centralized site to remote areas. Remote pharmacies are typically used for countries in which there are no physical stores of drugs for either local or international trade.
This process can be pursued through electronic or manual means and can involve routine quality control checks and specific requirements by law. An important concern when remote pharmacy verification is being considered is potential abuse and diversion of medications.
What is a Remote Pharmacy?
A remote pharmacy is a facility that delivers medications from a central distribution source to patients in remote areas. Ideally, the drugs would be sourced from the nearest point for ultimate delivery but can also be sourced from other countries.
What is Remote Pharmaceutical Verification?
Remote pharmaceutical verification uses computer technology and telecoms for verifying the authenticity of goods and services in a manner that ensures legal compliance between the sender and receiver. The benefits include:
- A lower cost distribution option
- Reduced or eliminated the risk of diversion and misuse of drugs, resulting in protection to patients
- Facilitates international trade with the option of multiple countries
- Helps ensure that medications have not been diverted out of their intended destination
- Adds an additional level of security to drug distribution by making the process more complex, cumbersome and time-consuming
This system is mostly used in countries where there are no physical pharmacies, as well as in cases where supplies need to be verified that drugs are genuine and not illegal or counterfeit products being distributed.
Gaps in this system are that there may be the option of remote pharmacy verification systems that are still reliant on third party data. The International Standards Organization (ISO) is currently working to develop an international standard for quality control through electronic authentication for pharmaceutical products and services.
Who Uses Remote Pharmacy Verification?
In countries where there are no physical pharmacies, the use of remote pharmacies can greatly help facilitate access to medications being transported to remote areas. In low-income or developing countries, it may be challenging or difficult to get transportation to these areas as well as monitor the drugs in place. Instead, they may prefer a centralized distribution model that makes the process more efficient and cost effective.
The WHO has designed a program known as the Medical Products Agency (MPA) to help improve remote pharmacy verification systems by creating a system that can be used to monitor drug distribution and evaluate its effectiveness.