HealthPRO News

HealthPRO defines standardized packaging requirement to enhance occupational safety

Used widely across healthcare centres to treat serious diseases such as cancers, cytotoxic drugs can present significant risks to those who handle them. There are, however, no official guidelines related to cytoprotective packaging.

“Cytotoxic medications, which by their very nature are toxic, are handled by so many healthcare workers throughout the hospital, including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, as well as medical, nursing and materials management staff,” says Nancy Giovinazzo, Senior Clinical Director, HealthPRO.  “When control measures such as a cytoprotective sheath are not present, occupational exposure – that is, exposure of staff to a hazardous substance – can occur.”

To enhance occupational safety, HealthPRO’s pharmacy team, along with the Pharmacy Specialties Oncology Committee (PSOC), worked to develop a standard definition for the purpose of product evaluation around the presence of a cytoprotective sheath – a product packaging feature that is critical to the safe handling of cytotoxic medications.

“All off-patent oncology products submitted as part of the PH19 will be evaluated against this definition, says Dawn Jennings, Clinical Director HealthPRO.  “The scoring of this criterion within our product evaluation process aims to increase the presence of cytoprotective sheaths on our awarded products, thereby continuing to reinforce safe medication handling and driving best value for our members.”


Cytoprotective Sheath

A tight fitting encapsulating protective vial sleeve, designed to trap toxic substances within the unit if the vial is compromised through a breakage or surface damage. Equipped with a rigid plastic bottom or similar material which provides additional stability from tipping and impact resistance from accidental dropping. The transparent protective sleeve completely encapsulates the vial up to the aluminum cap without obstructing label information and does not impede manual or automatic workflow processes for the preparation and administration of the drug.