October 18, 2017

The Importance of Providing Advance Notification of Product Changes

Hospital pharmacies are increasingly automated, featuring a wide array of technology from robotics, automated packaging and labelling machines, to optical verifiers and compounding pumps. This automation is designed to enhance resource efficiencies and contribute to safe medication management, however when changes are made to pharmaceutical products that interface with these technologies without sufficient notice, unexpected and sometimes serious consequences can occur, including medication errors.

In response to pharmacists’ requests from across the country for manufacturers to provide at least 60 days’ notice of any changes to their products, HealthPRO launched a National Protocol for the Advance Notification of Product Changes that asks suppliers to provide a minimum of 60 days notice in advance of product changes.

To centralize the notification process, all changes for both contracted and non-contracted items are sent to HealthPRO through the use of a Notice of Product Change Form. HealthPRO then communicates the changes to its more than 800 member hospitals and makes the information available on its public website.

“A change to almost any product feature can have an impact— the weight, the size, the colour,” says Nancy Giovinazzo, Senior Clinical Director, HealthPRO. “With adequate notification, pharmacists can identify points of disruption in advance and help mitigate the risk of change-related medication events.”

To date, HealthPRO has received notice of more than 31 product changes from suppliers now following this new protocol including Apotex, AstraZeneca, Sterimax, JAMP Pharma and Methapharm.

For more information on this and other HealthPRO medication safety initiatives, please visit