Practicalities and next steps for Pharmacolog
Today installation, updating and support for DrugLog is easy because of cloud-based technology; future developments could include antibiotic measurement in blood according to Mats Högberg, CEO of Pharmacolog AB.
Installation, calibration, updating and training can sometimes turn out to be a hidden burden with new technology demanding many hours of extra work. However, Pharmacolog has taken a number of steps to make these steps quicker and smoother. One of these is the compilation of a large database of calibrations or ‘fingerprints’ of the drugs that are commonly measured. “If you were to buy a system from us we can prepopulate it with maybe not every drug that you are using but …… most likely we can prepopulate the device with fingerprints that cover maybe 80% of the [drugs you are using]”, says Mr Högberg. Moreover, when a new drug is brought into use it is easy for the user to calibrate the device using a number of standard concentrations. In this way users can build up their own library of drugs and concentrations.
“The system is also designed a bit like an internet of things so every measurement, all the calibrations and the fingerprints you have are stored in the cloud so that if something happens with it we will send you a replacement system and things are being downloaded and you are up and running in maybe half a day …… So everything is backed up. We also perform service and support online because we can access the measurements and we can also access the system [with] permission, and guide you through. That is something that has really helped us throughout the pandemic. We are today shipping systems and installing training remotely and it works beautifully because of the technology that we have developed”, explains Mr Högberg.
In order for a drug to be measurable in DrugLog it needs to be a clear solution and absorb light of a wavelength between 200 and 800nm.
Next steps for Pharmacolog
Pharmacolog is currently involved in an exciting new development project together with the University in Uppsala. Based on the company’s core technology, the objective is to develop a tool that can quickly determine antibiotic levels in blood. “Today it is important for a patient with sepsis or severe infection that they have the right level of antibiotics on the blood throughout the treatment and there are no easy ways to determine this. You can do it with HPLC but it is costly and it takes time. Our goal is to have a tool that would, in 20-30 minutes, provide an indication to the physician that yes, you have the right level or you are too low. Typically, they are too low today”, explains Mr Högberg. Because drug handling varies between patients it is important to be able to check every patient to ensure that drug levels are in the right therapeutic window. “It’s a future project but we have made some major progress over the past year”, he adds.
Reflections on developments
Two observations underline the place of DrugLog in the changing the landscape of injectable drug preparation:
“It’s almost as though the surrounding world has caught up with us…” says Mr Högberg. One development that stands out in his mind is the way that a community pharmacy in Germany advertises its injection compounding business by showing that they have a DrugLog to quality control the final products.
DrugLog appears to be a technology whose time has come. “When I first went to EAHP (European Association of Hospital Pharmacists Congress) in Vienna, you could read a lot of scientific papers ….that were about medication errors. There were several studies from Germany and France …3-4% of all the bags in chemo production were outside the tolerances. That is too much ……no industry would accept that error rate ….and now people are looking for solutions – so that’s interesting”, says Mr Högberg.
Visit the Pharmacolog website here.