EDMONTON — Alberta Health Services (AHS) is moving forward with plans to construct a central drug production facility.
Land has been secured in northwest Edmonton for the site of the new 3,700-square-metre facility. It is part of a $66-million project by the province to consolidate and centralize medication preparation and distribution for hospitals.
The project also includes the expansion and enhancement of an existing central production facility in Calgary and the redevelopment of five sites that will act as regional hubs.
“We all share the goal of delivering safe, effective and sustainable medication management for our patients, their families and other health care professionals,” said Health Minister Sarah Hoffman in a press release. “The new state-of-the-art drug production facility in Edmonton and enhancements at similar sites across the province will help us centralize this vital healthcare function. It will improve both patient safety and overall efficiency and make Alberta a national leader in medication management.”
The province anticipates work on the facility will begin in 2021 and wrap up by 2023.
“This is an exciting day for all of us,” said Karen Horon, senior operating officer of AHS Pharmacy Services. “This centralized model will enable AHS to prepare and package a greater number of medications centrally, which will allow us to deliver the best and safest possible care for our patients.”
Horon explained centralized medication production has many advantages. Some medications only need to be repackaged prior to dispensing for patient use, but others require some type of preparation.
“Ideally, a high proportion of medications are prepared in a centralized pharmacy,” said Horon. “It minimizes the time nurses spend on preparing doses, freeing them up to spend more time with patients. And by distributing medications in ready-to-administer, patient-specific packages, we’re decreasing the risk of medication errors.”