Oncology Pharmacists Face Restricted Access to Essential PPE Supply

Oncology pharmacy practitioners face an increasingly limited and sometimes restricted personal protective equipment (PPE) supply as well as impaired access to essential anticancer medication, according to University of California, Irvine-led study which appeared

In this study, researchers surveyed 42 pharmacy practice groups in 28 countries and regions (in both developed and developing countries) to determine pain points that this global pandemic has created for oncology pharmacy practitioners.

 

According to the results, half of those surveyed reported that PPE was difficult to access or was restricted in supply. The researchers observed that practitioners have had to find ways to preserve PPE supply, such as extending chemotherapy compounding shifts to avoid an excess of PPE changing. Moroever, practitioners in 43 percent of the surveyed countries reported impaired access to drugs, including anti-infective agents, anticancer medications and supportive care medications that are essential to treatment of cancer patients, with the largest portion of this problem occurring in African countries.

“We have to make sure cancer healthcare workers – in this case, pharmacists and technicians involved in cancer care – continue to be well safeguarded with PPEs and have what they need to do their jobs well,” said Alexandre Chan, department chair and professor clinical pharmacy practice in a press release. “Oncology pharmacists are important frontline healthcare workers who are involved in the care of patients that are vulnerable.”