High-speed unit dose packagers for pharmacy

By | August 29, 2013

There are a lot of pharmacies out there that utilize high-speed packagers for one reason or another. Sometimes medications aren’t available in unit-dose packages from the manufacturer, or in one case that I came across recently, a pharmacy may elect to package from bulk bottles for efficiency and/or cost savings.

I haven’t given much thought to high-speed packagers in a while because they seem to be a low priority in many pharmacies these days. But I had reason recently to give them some thought. Someone sent me an email asking me about the various high-speed packagers on the market, who sells them, who they’re made by, etc. So I put together the table below. It covers the basics.

With so many on the market it may be difficult to pick one. Just do your homework. Start with the vendor you’re familiar with, i.e. if you already have some of their products. Then move on to looking at the company’s track record, service reputation, integration with other system in your healthcare system, etc. Most importantly, make sure to go visit pharmacies that are already using the product that you’re considering. In fact, visit more than one. Trust me when I say that the vendor will be happy to provide you with a list. Those lists can be quite helpful, but make sure to talk with pharmacies that are not on the list as well. That’s where you’ll find the most useful information.

 

McKesson*

Swisslog

TCGRx

Omnicell

ABC

CareFusion

Acute-care product

PACMED

ATP

ATP Series

Medication Packager

FastPack EXP

PharmoPack

Hardware Manufacture

JVM

Sanyo

Sanyo

Yuyuma

Sanyo

Cretem

Canister# (Sz) 100 / 150 / 240 / 350 / 400 / 500 128-384 (scalable) 256 / 320 / 384 (scalable by stacking) 260 / 336 / 520 128-384 (scalable) 158 / 207 / 267 / 336 / 405
Speed Non-ROBOT use: 60/min

ROBOT-ready: 33/min

65/min 65/min 60/min 65/min 70/min single tablet – 55/min multi-dose
Manual Tray? Yes (STS) Yes (UTS) Yes (UTS – “fill to light”) Yes (DTA) Yes Yes (MDU)
Manual Tray Size 64 tabs 64 tabs 63 tabs 64 tabs 60 tabs/tray
Smart Chip Yes Yes
Interesting features Singulator automates cutting and stacking of ROBOT-Ready packages Skip med feature – allows packager to continue in the event that a canister empties in middle of run. – Hot-swappable printer assembly Skip med feature – allows packager to continue in the event that a canister empties in middle of run. – Hot-swappable printer assembly.  – Dual packet size Photo sensor detection system Skip med feature Flexible Numeric Display (FND)

*Of note: McKesson announced in 2012 that they would be exiting the acute care pharmacy space.

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