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OBP Guidance Suggests Ohio Nurses Can Stock Automated Drug Storage Systems During COVID-19

Published: Aug 05, 2020 by Brandon Smith

By: Monica Fuster and James McGovern

The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy authorized nurses (LPN, RN, APRN) to stock automated drug storage systems within a terminal distributor of dangerous drugs. For the purpose of this guidance, automated drug storage system means a mechanical system used for the secure storage of dangerous drugs used as a floor stock or contingency drugs. The authorization’s goal is to mitigate possible staffing shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, this guidance currently remains in effect and will remain in effect until rescinded by the Board.

The guidance stipulates that for a nurse to stock an automated drug storage system, the system must comply with the following:

  • (1) The system utilizes a barcode scanning system at the fill station;
  • (2) Only one selection of the medication may be open at each time; and
  • (3) The system or the electronic health record used to administer drugs utilizes barcode medication administration (BCMA)

The authorization is only applicable to nurses working in licensed terminal distributors of dangerous drugs that have an on-site pharmacy. In contrast, nurses that work in stand-alone facilities that do not have an on-site pharmacy, such as nursing homes and ambulatory surgical centers, have always been permitted to stock automated drug storage systems.