The UNC Pharmacy Department has been recognized as one of several forward-thinking cancer program members by the Association of Community Cancer Centers.

The department has implemented a drug vial optimization process which has led to significant financial, safety and clinical outcomes.

Associate Director of Pharmacy at the UNC Medical Center Lindsey Amerine explains the process as taking drug waste from single-dose vials and, by using a closed-system transfer device, extending it’s sterility up to seven days.

“We were able to, through a series of different studies that we’ve performed at UNC, make sure that we utilize that drug waste, make sure we’re able to utilize it for more patients, and through that we’ve had significant cost savings,” says Amerine.

Before this process of drug vial optimization, pharmacy guidelines stated that the old vials must be used within six hours.

The process not only allows for more patients to be treated, it has also already saved the university a lot of money.

“On the cost-saving side, we’ve actually seen a savings of over $43 million each year by using this,” says Amerine.

Now the university is reinvesting those savings into multidisciplinary services and charity care programs.

Amerine says the UNC Medical Center’s goal is always to provide the best and safest patient care while still attempting to bring innovation to the field.

“I think for us, it’s getting in that mindset of always asking what the next question is and really trying to change the status quo,” says Amerine.

The North Carolina Cancer Hospital was the first program in the nation to adopt a closed-system drug waste transfer device.