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Pharmacies given to end of November to find replacement MDS supplier

Contractor Sandeep Khosla said £25,000 worth of his Biodose heat sealers could become redundant
Contractor Sandeep Khosla said £25,000 worth of his Biodose heat sealers could become redundant

Pharmacies using Biodose monitored dosage systems (MDS) have until November 30 to find an alternative supplier after its parent company Protomed announced it was closing.

Biodose manufacturer Protomed announced last month (October 23) that “after careful consideration”, it would close the business on November 30.

The company is therefore “providing pharmacies and care homes with approximately six weeks to transition patients onto an alternative compliance or original pack system”.

Protomed explored alternative options, including a sale, but no “credible offer” was made, and a lack of “meaningful profit” forced the company to close, a spokesperson for the company told C+D.

Sandeep Khosla, director of pharmacy at the Medipharmacy chain – whose 20 pharmacies provide over 80 nursing homes with Biodose MDS trays – said he may need to buy new tray moulds for his MDS dispensing robot. He will also need to purchase new heat sealers to seal the trays if the new moulds are not compatible.

At around £12,000 each, he estimated this would be “a huge cost to absorb”.

The five Biodose sealers he currently owns – which cost around £5,000 each – “would potentially become redundant”, he added.

Alternative arrangements

In a further announcement posted on October 30, Protomed gave details of alternative systems pharmacies could use.

“The NaviMed system is compatible with Biodose seals, which means customers can continue to use their existing Biodose stocks,” Protomed said.

“Unusually large” orders will not be taken, so that all pharmacies will have “fair access to stock” before Protomed’s closure, it said. “We are also exploring the possibility of entering into an agreement to make Biodose consumables (trays, pods, and seals) available beyond the closure date”, it added.

Protomed said it is also “continuing to explore ways to support customers in transferring their patient data onto an alternative system”.

It is “working closely with compliance specialists NaviMed to give customers the option of bulk-uploading their returned data into the NaviMed online system”, Protomed said.

During the closure period, the Biodose software system will be free for customers to use, and those who have paid in advance for system access will receive a “pro-rata refund”. Pharmacists will still be able to access the current Biodose online system until December 14, Protomed told C+D.

Does your pharmacy use Biodose monitored dosage systems?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

It's a paid service in Germany. I've done the maths before, it's generally not worth it for the time it takes to prepare.

s8chy P, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

all contractors must stop providing MDS for free. only then will DoH think about paying for this service. 

C A, Community pharmacist

So there is no money in MDS? What a surprise!

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Any pharmacy offering free MDS in the post funding cuts environment is living on borrowed time 

Richard MacLeavy, Dispenser Manager/ Dispensing Assistant

Biodose never really was an affordable option in my opinion. The trays, pods and seals were all so expensive that patients had to be on numerous medications (which could all fit into one tray) to give you any chance of breaking even. Added to that Biodose allows previously non MDS compatible medication such as Lactulose and other liquids to be MDS compatible yay!! Great so now the dispensing process is even less effieicnt, and measuring 5ml/10ml/15ml into each pod is soo teadious, and all liquid trays are loss making. Then you need a heat sealer at £5k to seal the thing when every other MDS system doesn't need one and no one has ever found fault in that. Did I say one heat sealer? I should have said at least two, as they are so unreliable and when they break you have a bunch of dispensers all sitting around doing nothing until the repair man visits, then its overtime payments for the next 2 weeks trying to catch up on lost dispensing time. And not to forget you need to print a picture of everyones face onto the seals in case carehome staff don't know what their patients look like and whats with the pods anyway??? The Biodose sign up method (seen as the main benefit to many independants) works on Biodose sales reps signing up care homes and assigning that home to the nearest Biodose pharmacy, which as there are so few maybe over 100 miles away in some cases, and then you have drivers gone all day to deliver an interim antibiotic medication.  I wouldn't go near a system such as Biodose again, its really the worst possible solution from a pharmacy perspective and as sad as it is that this news will mean job losses and inconvience for many I can't say I'm sad to see it go.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

I wonder how many will take this as an opportunity to discontinue providing MDS?

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