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Safecor Health answers frequently asked questions about unit-dose repackaging

General questions about outsourcing unit-dose repackaging

A unit-dose repackaging partnership allows hospital pharmacies to reduce the costly and time-consuming tasks of repackaging. Once you’ve gone through the Safecor Health account setup and onboarding process, you’ll place your bulk medication orders for repackaging on a bill to/ship to repackaging account through your regular wholesaler ordering platform. Your wholesaler will deliver the bulk items to Safecor Health for repackaging. Once repackaged, Safecor Health will ship your repackaged medications directly to your hospital pharmacy, ready to be placed into inventory and dispensed.

Many hospital pharmacies save an average of $400 to $700 per patient bed when they outsource unit-dose repackaging. Equipment, labor and space considerations must be factored into the decision of whether or not to manage the process in-house. Safecor Health offers a free ROI calculator to help pharmacy directors make the best decision for their organizations. Download this free tip sheet for step-by-step instructions to use the calculator.

Safecor Health repackages more than 8,500 unique NDC#s for our customers across the country. Safecor Health offers unit-dose repackaging of oral solids, oral liquid cups, oral liquid syringes, ENFit syringes, controlled substances and hazardous drugs.

There is a very short list of medications that cannot be repackaged at Safecor Health. These include:

  • Beta lactam antibiotics (i.e. penicillins and cephalosporins) – FDA restriction on all re-packagers
  • Some high potency chemotherapeutic medications
  • Select HIV medications – due to manufacturer recommendations, although Safecor Health
    does repackage several HIV medications where the manufacturer can provide stability information
  • Products that are very hygroscopic (ex. MagDelay)
  • Nitroglycerine SL
  • Pancrelipases (exception: Safecor Health does repackage some strengths of Creon with limited dating)
  • Drugs where the manufacturer states “dispense in original container” on the drug label and the manufacturer cannot provide additional details on the product
  • Split tablets

Things to consider when selecting a unit-dose repackaging partner

Safecor Health is registered with the FDA and licensed by the DEA, applicable state boards of pharmacy, and other state and federal agencies as required. Safecor Health repackages oral, non-sterile medications according to the original manufacturer guidelines and in compliance with FDA cGMP repackaging guidance.

Safecor Health is NOT a 503B compounding pharmacy and does NOT manufacture or compound any injectable or sterile pharmaceutical products.

Learn more about us.

Yes. Local, regional and national health systems can greatly benefit from a strategic repackaging relationship with Safecor Health. Those health systems with more sophisticated centralized models can also benefit by improving operations and product volume flowing through their central entity, including those using:

  • Central fill pharmacy operation models
  • Central warehouses or shared services facilities
  • Consolidated pharmaceutical repackaging and distribution

Yes. Safecor Health provides customers with standardized and regulatory-compliant unit-dose labels and bar codes. Our unit-dose labels incorporate best practices from FDA, USP, ISMP and ASHP regulations and guidance, resulting in high-quality, readable unit-dose labels and scannable bar codes. Safecor Health supports both 10- and 11-digit NDC length, linear and 2D datamatrix bar-code formats, and EPIC and Cerner custom bar-code data. Learn more about Safecor Health bar coding and labeling.

Yes. Safecor Health supports FDA and ISMP recommendations and requirements for pharmacies, including Tall Man lettering on labels and metric-only oral syringe graduations.

Types of medications that can be repackaged

Yes. Safecor Health provides unit-dose repackaging services for certain oral, non-sterile hazardous medications and can help your pharmacy address key aspects of USP <800>. Hazardous medication categories we currently repackage into unit-dose include most antivirals, immuno-suppressants, antiestrogens and antiandrogens. Safecor Health does not repackage cytotoxic medications.

Contact us today to incorporate our hazardous medication repackaging services into your pharmacy’s USP <800> strategy.

Yes. Schedule II (C-II) drugs and Schedule III through Schedule V drugs can be repackaged at Safecor Health. There are specific forms, special setup requirements and ordering processes that need to be initiated and followed for Schedule II medications. Safecor Health also has a web-based CSOS platform for customers to use.

Contact us to discuss your Schedule II repackaging needs and setup requirements.

Yes. Safecor Health automatically repackages any light-sensitive medications in amber or other light-sensitive component materials. Our packaging materials meet or exceed the standards stated in chapter 661 of the USP, and are quality control tested, validated, and tracked throughout our manufacturing processes. Safecor Health will automatically place drugs into light-sensitive packaging based on manufacturer requirements. The customer does not have to request it.

Yes. Safecor Health supports many stand-alone pediatric hospitals as well as hospitals that have pediatric units. For oral liquids, Safecor Health can assist with the repackaging and bar-coding of standardized doses in unit-dose cups, oral syringes and ENFit syringes — including C-IIs.

Contact us today for a list of common pediatric oral liquids and common standardized doses that can support your pediatric pharmacy requirements.

Working with both a drug wholesaler and a unit-dose repackager

Yes. Safecor Health works closely with all of the major drug wholesalers including AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson and Morris & Dickson. These unique supply chain relationships and BILL TO/SHIP TO accounts enable institutional pharmacies to purchase medications on-contract and on-formulary from their wholesaler (with the cost of goods discount applied).

Medication purchases are delivered by your wholesaler to Safecor Health where we verify and receive the order, repackage the items in the format and dosage size requested by your pharmacy, and ship the completed repackaging order directly to your pharmacy, ready to use.

Yes. BILL TO/SHIP TO ordering account(s) are set up by your wholesaler. Your pharmacy can purchase medications through your wholesaler (on-contract and with your wholesaler cost of goods applied) and have them sent directly to Safecor Health for repackaging.

If needed, wholesaler purchasing accounts (BILL TO/SHIP TO) can include GPO, WAC and 340B accounts to flow through a hospital’s split billing software and accumulator.

Common questions about the Safecor Health process

Safecor Health has repackaging contracts with most national and regional group purchasing organizations (GPOs), so there is no contract to sign to use our services. Safecor Health charges a per dose fee for its repackaging services and a lot change fee for each lot of product. Shipping charges from Safecor Health to your pharmacy are prepaid by Safecor Health and added to your pharmacy’s invoice. The cost-per-dose fees vary by product type, package type and other factors.

Contact us to determine your pharmacy’s pricing. Please be sure to include your GPO and health system parent.

Shipping charges for completed repackaging orders are paid by your pharmacy. Freight charges are prepaid by Safecor Health and added to your invoice. If preferred, Safecor Health can directly bill your FedEx account.

Completed repackaging orders are shipped by Safecor Health to your pharmacy. Safecor Health uses FedEx Ground as our primary shipping vendor. UPS is available for customers who prefer UPS, as long as the customer has a UPS account for billing purchases.

Safecor Health ships ground (except for refrigerated items) to help keep your costs low. Safecor Health only ships refrigerated items Next Day Air on Monday through Thursday.

Most customer and GPO repackaging service contracts have a “$20 line minimum” (meaning packaging fees for each drug must total at least $20 to avoid the minimum).

We strongly recommend strategically placing orders in bulk and in fewer orders to keep your shipping costs and lot change fee costs as low as possible. We will work with you and your buyer to develop the most efficient ordering pattern for your pharmacy.

Contact Safecor Health to obtain your customer account setup paperwork and basics for getting started or check out our get started page.

You’ll work closely with our sales and implementation teams to complete the account setup paperwork, provide your DEA and state board of pharmacy licenses, and establish a bill to/ship to ordering account on your wholesaler’s ordering system (including GPO/WAC/340B as needed). We’ll also ensure we have the repackaging formats, dosage sizes for oral liquids, and bar code content your pharmacy needs for the specific NDCs your pharmacy will order and repackage. We can also help your pharmacy establish a packaging formulary.

Once your account setup is complete, the transition to placing an order with Safecor Health versus placing your usual orders is simple. Safecor Health works closely with all major wholesalers to allow your pharmacy to place orders directly through your wholesaler ordering platform.

As you get familiar with the repackaging process, add new NDC#s, and ramp up order volumes to optimize the
use of Safecor Health’s unit-dose repackaging and bar-coding services.

We encourage your pharmacy buyer to develop an internal reordering process to account for the order cycle, repackaging processing time, and shipment of completed repackaging orders to your pharmacy.

You can contact the team directly. Or, Safecor Health offers a full resource directory filled with articles, videos, case studies, infographics, and eBooks dedicated to helping your pharmacy optimize its operations.

Contact us today to learn how a strategic repackaging relationship could help your health system pharmacies.