The Pharmacy Technician's Inventory and Financial Management

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Using inventory procedures to aid in financial management of a pharmacy is a common and necessary practice. Many times a Pharmacy Technician will be the person to maintain inventory by receiving and stocking orders on shelves, rotating stock, returning outdated stock to the manufacturer for a credit, and setting order points for consistent stock of items needed in the pharmacy.

Orders must be received and checked for accuracy promptly, for a couple of reasons: first, the order must be checked for accuracy to ensure the amount of product shipped was the amount ordered, and to ensure nothing unwanted is received into the pharmacy. Next, cold or frozen items must be stored immediately to ensure they do not thaw and compromise the efficacy of the product. Once the product is received, it must be stored properly, not only to ensure correct temperatures are maintained, but to be sure stock is rotated. Stock should be rotated according to the FIFO procedure, or “First In, First Out”, with the oldest product at the front and the newest at the back. This helps to make sure product is used before the expiration date so that nothing has to be thrown away, which would waste money.

Expired product is called inventory spoilage. Product passing the expiration date or stored improperly can spoil, and it may cause the chemical compounds in the medication to break down or change, causing changed therapeutic function or loss of efficacy or potency. Some companies allow outdated product to be returned to them for credit. This is generally the technician’s job. Sometimes wholesalers won’t accept expired drugs, but the manufacturer of the drug will. Many drugs must be discarded or returned before the expiration date, because if they are sold to a patient they may be used after the expiration date.

Pharmacy Technicians are also generally responsible for setting and maintaining reorder points, either manually or with a computer. The reorder points are the minimum...
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