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Pharmacy 'Robots' Linked to Bacterial Contamination of Drugs

Pharmacy 'Robots' Linked to Bacterial Contamination of Drugs

04/06/12

FRIDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- So-called robotic drug dispensers can be contaminated with dangerous bacteria, a new report says.

During routine screening, staffers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina discovered Bacillus cereus bacteria in drug samples dispensed by a robot used to prepare intravenous medications in a sterile environment.

This potentially harmful type of bacteria is resistant to many commonly used disinfectants, including alcohol. Contamination of intravenous drugs with this bacteria can cause serious problems, including potentially life-threatening bloodstream infections in patients, the study authors said.

In this case, which occurred in 2010, no patients were harmed, the researchers said.

Further investigation traced the contamination to the machine's washing station and its associated tubing. This washing station is not considered a sterile part of the robot and the manufacturer does not specify a formal cleaning and maintenance procedure, the study authors noted.

They suggested that the current cleaning and maintenance recommendations for the robot need to be strengthened.

"To our knowledge, this is the first published report of a pharmacy robot being contaminated with Bacillus with resultant contamination of intravenous drug product," the study authors wrote.

They said their findings highlight the importance of routine screening of medication prepared by robotic dispensers, which are becoming increasingly common in hospitals.

The study appeared in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

More information

For more on Bacillus cereus visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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