GRHTA | 18-02-2021
Introduction: In March 2020, due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19, a pilot experience of pharmaceutical continuity of care received by hospital outpatients was launched in Cantabria, a Spanish autonomous community. Thanks to this experience, the medication was dispensed by the hospital pharmacy through the community pharmacy of the patient’s choice. Our objective was to estimate the costs avoided by this practice during the months of April and May 2020.
Methods: The analysis of the economic impact was carried out in terms of saved costs, from the hospital and from the social perspective. Savings associated with the avoided home delivery of medication and avoided labor productivity losses were calculated, as well as the time associated with avoided trips in monetary terms.
Results: A total of 2,249 hospital-dispensed drugs were delivered through the community pharmacy in the analyzed period, with an average of 57.7 daily deliveries. The experience, which involved one hospital and 262 pharmacies of Cantabria, saved patients 93,305 km in trips to the hospital, associated with an average time saving of 1,374 hours. In terms of costs, the hospital saved on shipments by courier, estimated at €30,205, since it was the community pharmacy and the distribution warehouses that delivered the drugs. From a social perspective, this initiative saved €23,309 due to the trips (€8,907) and productivity losses (€14,402) that were avoided.
Conclusions: This exceptional situation may be a good opportunity to improve the coordination between hospital pharmacies and community pharmacies in Spain, not only during the pandemic but also in the post-COVID-19 era.