HealthPRO News

February 01, 2021

Pharmacy Advisory Council: National pharmacy experts share knowledge, award contracts

Image of HealthPRO's Pharmacy Advisory Council meeting virtually over Microsoft Teams
Each year, HealthPRO’s Pharmacy Advisory Council (PAC) gathers pharmacy experts from across the country to discuss issues impacting hospital pharmacies, industry trends and to review contract awards. This year, the meeting was kicked off with a powerful statement from HealthPRO’s new President and CEO, Renato Discenza:

“The business you are conducting over the next two days is core not just to HealthPRO but to integrated patient care across Canada.”

And he could not be more right. This round of contracts – PH21 – primarily centered around Hospital Specific Injectables which include vital molecules, such as anti-infectives, like cefazolin and ciprofloxacin, and anesthetic agents, like propofol and ketamine.

New contract strategies including increased Canadian inventory holdings for critical drugs and Substitute Supplier were introduced as part of PH21 to foster assurance of supply.

Due to challenges around COVID-19, this year was the first time the meeting was held virtually. More than 60 hospital pharmacy professionals, including member pharmacists, pharmacy technician buyers, and procurement specialists joined the meeting from across the country.

Image of HealthPRO's Pharmacy Advisory Council meeting virtually over Microsoft Teams

Here are some key highlights from the two-day meeting.

Day One

Day one of PAC focused on several topics, including a review of 2020, product evaluation highlights, supplier quality performance highlights, and recommendations for awards for the PH21 Hospital Specific Injectables contracts.

When deciding contract strategy, such as whether to award a contract to more than one supplier, key elements the group considered included potential implications for patient safety, assurance of supply, and operational requirements.

An important requirement, specifically in regard to packaging and labelling, is the presence of a barcode.

Pie chart illustrating that 94% of barcodes are listed on units included on PH21

“Our product evaluation criteria are refreshed prior to each RFP and are constantly evolving to reflect the needs of our hospital systems,” said Tracy Gallina, Clinical Director, Pharmacy, HealthPRO. “HealthPRO has advocated for barcodes on the unit of use for all our products for some time, and during the most recent product evaluation, 94 per cent of products submitted for review had a barcode on the unit of use. This year, we have also emphasized to our suppliers the need to include the lot number and expiry date in these barcodes to enable tracking and tracing of doses received by patients.”


Quote card featuring positive feedback from a PAC attendee

Day Two

Day two of the meeting included an update from Patricia Macgregor, Clinical Director of Pharmacy Innovation, on the progress of HealthPRO’s Pharmacy Innovation (PI) program, including a summary of the PI21 Supply agreements and overview of the off-cycle contract additions during 2020; these contracts represent more than $80M in value. The PI Portfolio was introduced in 2017, and focuses on awards for patented medications, biologics and biosimilars that require a higher level of clinical and procurement resources, as well as services, such as Telepharmacy.

In all, over the two days, attendees discussed award recommendations for more than 300 contracts, totaling more than $200M.

Quote card featuring positive feedback from a PAC attendee



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