Nova Laboratories exhibited at the Clinical Pharmacy Congress in April and helped busy hospital and community pharmacists eliminate risk and save time when prescribing specials.

While specials account for just one per cent of all prescriptions in the UK, this bespoke service can play a vital role when a licensed product does not suffice, said Mike Edge, in-house pharmacist at Nova Laboratories.

In-house pharmacist Mike Edge, offers five key principles to manage specials procurement to help eliminate risk and save healthcare professionals time.

Key principles for the procurement of specials:
1. Build relations - It’s essential to trust your specials supplier because speed is often of the essence. Be sure to work with a supplier you can rely on.

2. Technical support – Utilise the technical support available from your specials supplier and speak to their expert customer service teams and in-house pharmacists for advice and guidance. They will be able to tell you if there’s a licensed option available or recommend adjustments to formulations.

3. Range of products - Keep a record of manufacturers that are able to fulfil certain prescriptions to avoid having to contact multiple manufacturers each time. Try to use a supplier who can cover all bases to save on admin.

4. Quality guarantee & reduce risk – Ask about the end to end process. Is the product made and tested in-house? Ask for evidence that the product meets appropriate standards. This will help assure you and the patient that the special is compliant and made to the highest quality.

5. Speed – How quickly can the special be made? If the product is made and tested in-house then the turnaround will be quicker.

More and more pharmacists are experiencing the benefits first-hand of offering personalised medication said Karen Cole, group sales and marketing manager at Nova Laboratories.

“We’ve built strong relationships in this area and our dedicated pharmacists and customer service team have resolved many formulation issues and technical problems for pharmacies over the past 20 years,” said Karen.

While some specials manufacturers outsource testing and production, Nova manufacturers and tests all specials in-house in its state of the art facility. This speeds up the turnaround process and means everything happens under one roof to a strict protocol ensuring stringent quality control.

It is Nova’s diverse product offering, of about 10,000 different types of medicines, which offers a unique flexibility for pharmacists. It can provide virtually any pharmaceutical dosage form, including non-sterile cytotoxic formulations.

Karen continues: “We typically offer ten to fifteen new products per month on a demand based basis, with the patients’ needs coming first. Stock items and individually compounded patient medication is usually dispatched within 24 hours of order receipt.

“We pride ourselves on being a needs-led company which rarely turns away a request because it can’t be fulfilled.”

Nova is a traditional specials company set up by a group of ex-NHS pharmacy staff from Leicester General Hospital. Where other companies have merged or switched their focus to products with high revenues, it continues to fill a vital niche in medicine by delivering tailored healthcare, treating the most vulnerable patients and improving their quality of life.


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