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Digital drug screening to detect falsified, expired and
recalled medicines

Naughton, Bernard David

Digital drug screening to detect falsified, expired and
recalled medicines Thumbnail


Bernard David Naughton


Falsified medicines are a global health and pharmaceutical sector issue which affect supply chains in low, middle and high-income countries. There are many methods to identify substandard and falsified medicines. However, the European Union has introduced the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) to combat this problem. This directive requires the majority of all prescription-only medicines to be serialised, risk-based verified at wholesaler level and decommissioned at the end of the supply chain at a healthcare facility; using digital medicine screening technology (DMST) often referred to as medicines authentication technology.

This thesis implemented a DMST into a live hospital environment for use by healthcare professionals. This thesis looked at the technical and operational effectiveness of the proposed digital solution in a hospital, gained user consensus on the strengths and limitations of the hospital DMST and implemented technological change to understand if the proposed changes demonstrated a quantitative or qualitative benefit. This thesis explains how the health information technology (HIT) intervention was perceived by the users and draws on literature to explain the observed results. This thesis involved the development and testing of a mobile app based DMST which could be used by public for the verification of medicines. This thesis involved a sample of social media users to gain an understanding of the consumer-based medicine verification concept, its limitations, and its opportunities from a convenience sample cohort.

A DMST in a hospital environment can work effectively in practice. However, some factors such as DMST offline instances, poor compliance to the DMST alerts and poor staff engagement remain a risk for this solution. It is established that ‘active’ alerts, such as an audio alert can improve adherence to policy (detection rates) and that staff-led technology improvements have a positive impact on technology compliance. There is also a consumer appetite for a mobile DMST app, and although some consumers are happy to share their data, this cohort would prefer if a hospital or University controlled the data generated by the app due to concerns relating to data management. This thesis has generated evidence to support the development of DMST systems for hospitals and mobile phone users.

Keywords Falsified, Substandard, Counterfeit, Medicine, Pharmaceutical Supply Chain, Management, Global Health, Health Policy, Operations, Organisational Behaviour, Implementation, Health Information Technology, Healthcare Information Technology Alerts, Digital Te


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