Drug waste in long-term care facilities: impact of drug distribution system

Am J Hosp Pharm. 1980 Nov;37(11):1531-4.


The incidence and cost of drug waste in a long-term care facility (LTCF) were compared for a unit dose and a traditional (30-day card) distribution system. Drug records for 74 LTCF patients were reviewed retrospectively to determine the number of drugs ordered and doses dispensed during a four-month period via a unit dose distribution system. Based on the same drug orders, the number of doses that would have been dispensed with a 30-day card system was projected. The drug costs and wastage costs for the two distribution systems were compared. The mean number of drugs ordered per patient was 5.86. differences between the two systems, mean number of doses dispensed per order, and their average cost per drug order were not statistically significant (p less than 0.05). Of the total number of doses that would have been dispensed via the 30-day card system, 12.98% would have been wasted, representing 13.07% of the total drug costs. Because the unit dose system eliminates the drug wastage associated with a 30-day card system, it has a positive impact on LTCF drug costs.

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Drug Utilization / economics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care
  • Male
  • Medication Systems / economics*
  • Nursing Homes*