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REDUCING HARM FROM MEDICATION

An innovative drug verification analyser developed by private company Veriphi is being trialled on five oncology drugs at the University of Auckland’s School of Pharmacy. The goal is to reduce injury, isolate problem areas and create greater transparency for IV medication delivery.


“We’re talking about a new way to verify and identify drugs, a final QA (quality audit) check if you like, because an IV medication error has an immediate effect on the medication circulating around the body in about 23 seconds,” says Greg Shanahan, Managing Director and co-founder of Veriphi Ltd.


“Harm from IV medication is one of the most common forms of patient injury in hospitals and currently there’s no inexpensive means to verify dosage and concentration. It can be very difficult to detect a mistake in compounding, as most IV solutions are clear, meaning there’s no visual indicator.”


Veriphi’s solution is a combination of lasers and AI to verify the drug’s identity and concentration as it is compounded or administered. Lasers recognise the unique signature for each IV drug compound at specific concentrations. Software compares the recorded drug signature with a known library of drugs to determine if the drug is what the clinician intended. If it isn’t, the analyser raises an alarm, protecting the patient. Veriphi integrates seamlessly with existing systems at low cost.


Greg Shanahan says while their current trial focuses on common chemotherapy immunotherapy drugs, and validation of the analyser, Veriphi has potential to offer broader benefits in three key areas.


“Firstly, regulatory pressure globally is demanding greater transparency and safety in the drug delivery pathway from the pharmacy to the patient; secondly there’s been a big shift in technologies that enable cost savings by delivering affordable and safe healthcare outside the hospital environment. Thirdly, we’ve seen the extreme pressure placed on the global healthcare system to rapidly find safe, efficient and transparent ways to deliver intravenous medication as a result of the COVId-19 pandemic in particular.


He sees Veriphi having global applications. “Internationally, regulatory bodies see the risk around IV medication and deem these risks unacceptable, so we know there is a need. There are other companies trying to do similar things but so far, they lack scale and momentum from what we can see. We’re proposing a globally available, low-cost tool to increase the integrity of IV medications.”


The School of Pharmacy trial should be finished mid-2021 and Veriphi aims to have their first customers in Australasia by the end of the year with the possibility of seeking compliance in the UK where the process is less onerous than the United States.