Medication Packaging and Virus Transmission: Evidence Suggests No Danger

Blogs | 3 Minute Read

Since the start of the COVID-19 emergency, there have been questions as to whether the virus could be transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces. Is it possible the virus could be spread by PACE team members handling participants’ medication packaging?

According to the Cleveland Clinic and New England Journal of Medicine, COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through the inhalation of droplets from individuals that are infected with the virus. While published research indicates the virus may live up to 24 hours on cardboard surfaces, the timeframe varies significantly depending on sanitation efforts. Thus, the virus may possibly spread through inanimate objects, but such transmission would require an infected individual to cough or sneeze on a surface, and then another individual to touch the surface soon after and then touch his/her own face. However, there have been no published cases or evidence of this transmission occurring; there is a similar lack of evidence to support transmission via the surfaces of food or food packaging.

At CareKinesis medication safety, including safe use, is our mission; it is central to everything we do. Our dedication to protecting patients is reflected at all levels of our pharmacy services with administrative, environmental, technical and behavioral controls. We are proud that the systems in place have solidified CareKinesis as the safe choice for PACE pharmacy needs.

The CareKinesis team has taken additional special precautions during the COVID pandemic to minimize the risks of disease transmission, both within our facilities and among our clients and their patients. This summary addresses relevant concerns about the risk of disease transmission from physical contact with medication packaging.

Because we are committed to patient safety, we are likewise committed to the safety of our team members. Our pharmacy team takes multiple precautions to ensure a high level of infection control as advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines (e.g., cleaning practices, robotic fills, utilization of personal protective equipment/PPE). Thanks to strict adherence to this guidance and individual commitments to personal safety protocols, we have had no incidents of COVID transmission among the 175-person CareKinesis Pharmacy team.

CareKinesis offers customized packaging options based on each participant’s individual needs. These include multi-dose medication adherence card (MAC) packaging, pouches, and vials. The vast majority of our PACE participants use MAC packaging, which has been shown to increase regimen adherence to take advantage of our science-based medication safety processes.

The CDC has not developed any concerns or guidelines regarding the risk of COVID-19 transmission via Medication Packaging, and we are not aware of any credible reports suggesting otherwise. We are confident the risk of such transmission is very low, regardless of whether a medication is packaged in vials, multidose cards or pouches.

Since most PACE organizations limit on-site medication administration, the majority of PACE participants receive their medications at home. The risk of transmitting COVID-19 through medication adherence packaging or vials shipped directly to patient homes is infinitesimal.

In the limited circumstance of medication administration within nursing facilities or PACE centers, we are confident that PACE facility staff and skilled nursing facilities have enhanced infection control practices, with increased sanitization and utilization of PPE to further reduce the risk of transmission in general, including medication administration. With these infection control processes in place, CareKinesis’ MAC packaging provides a safe and proven means to empower PACE participants to manage their own medications with ease, accuracy, and safety in mind.

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