One of the unexpected benefits of writing In the Clean Room has been the interest that it has generated outside the U.S. Mark and I have had some interesting conversations with people from all over the world as a result.
One of our colleagues from Germany shared these interesting new developments from overseas. All three of the “robots” listed below are designed for compounding hazardous drugs, i.e. chemotherapy. The number of different approaches and concepts used for robotic sterile preparation is amazing.
PharmaHelp from Fresenius Kabi
Basically a hood with built-in automated compounded technology. The concept appears to be focused on batch preparation driven by workflow management software. The process is aided by RFID and gravimetric technology.* PharmHelp reminds me of a combination of the EXACTAMIX Compounder and INTELLIFILL I.V. There is a video at the site, but I couldn’t find a way to embed it here.
KIRO Oncology from KIRO (Mondragon)
Two things of interest with KIRO Oncology: 1) Dual-armed approach. The use of two robotic arms makes sense as one of the current limitations to the compounding robots I’ve seen in the U.S. is the use of a single arm. The use of a single arm creates a rate-limiting step, 2) It is “self-cleaning”. Check the video below, “self-cleaning” starts at about 1:35.
MOTOMAN from YASKAWA (Japan)
A MOTOMAN dual arm robot from YASKAWA. Again, dual-arm approach. I’d like to see more video on this guy as the video below isn’t very good. When I do a web search for MOTOMAN I find mostly industrial use robots. Not sure how far they are with using their technology in the IV room.
*It’s important to note that not all countries utilize bar code scanning technology like we do in the U.S. The FDA did us a big favor when they required drug manufacturers to place bar codes on medications. Not so in other countries. Many drug products in other countries do not contain bar codes.