Feds invest in innovative tele-pharmacy solution
OAKVILLE, Ont. – The Honourable
Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), has announced
an investment to Patient Care Automation Services Inc. (PCAS) from the
National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance
PCAS is the developer of the PharmaTrust MedCentre, a telepharmacy
dispensing and primary care system. The system is designed for
applications in hospitals, pharmacies, medical clinics, workplaces and
other locations, providing patients with convenient and safe access to
The funding supports an innovative research and development project that
will assist PharmaTrust in the development of its telepharmacy/primary
care system and network.
“Our government is investing in science and technology to create jobs,
strengthen the economy and improve Canadians’ quality of life,” said
Minister Goodyear. “These two projects will put Canada at the forefront
of pharmacy technology and benefit people around the world.”
This $1.5 million contribution will support the Oakville-based company
in hiring product development and engineering staff for two projects.
The first is furthering the development of the company’s telepharmacy and
primary-care platform technologies. The second supports the development
of advanced manufacturing techniques and technologies that will help the
company meet market demand in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S.
“Investing in science and technology is critical for developing highly
skilled people and improving the long-term competitiveness of Canadian
firms,” said NRC President Dr. Pierre Coulombe. “That’s why NRC-IRAP is
helping innovative Canadian businesses like PharmaTrust grow stronger,
faster and bigger.”
To use this system, customers insert a prescription or pick up a phone,
and via a videoconferencing system, speak to a pharmacist or physician.
To dispense a medication, pending the pharmacist’s authorization, the
machine verifies a medication’s barcode label, an RFID (radio-frequency
identification) tag, the medication’s DIN (drug identification number),
lot number, expiry date, storage profile, photographs, video and weight.
The MedCentre then presents the results of all tests to the pharmacist
who reviews them and finishes by consulting with the patient before
deciding whether or not to dispense the medication. Patients can pay
with their drug plan card, cash, credit or debit.
Patients benefit from the convenience and enhanced safety of PharmaTrust,
while it translates into cost savings for the healthcare system.
Currently, trials are taking place at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto,
under the supervision of the hospital’s pharmacy; there are production
sites at the Albany Clinic, in Toronto, and Cambridge Memorial Hospital,
in Cambridge, Ont.
The system is under evaluation as a pandemic response platform by
researchers at the University Health Network and the company has also
just recently received approval to deploy its system in select locations
in the UK.
“We think that our dispensing system is the way of the future. It’s
going to take some time to get there, but with the help of NRC-IRAP, we
hope to revolutionize the dispensing and management of prescription
drugs in Canada and around the world,” explained Peter Suma, co-founder
and Chief Operating Officer of PharmaTrust.
About NRC and NRC-IRAP
The NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) provides a
range of both technical and business-oriented advisory services along
with necessary financial support to qualified innovative Canadian small-
and medium-sized enterprises. The program is delivered by a field staff
of 240 professionals in more than 100 communities across Canada. NRC-IRAP
is committed to working with small- and medium-sized enterprises while
they realize their full potential, turning knowledge and innovation into
strategic opportunities, jobs and prosperity for all Canadians. The
Government of Canada’s Economic Action Plan has provided new resources
of $200 million to NRC-IRAP over the next two years to support
innovative Canadian firms. To learn more about Canada’s Economic Action
Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.
Posted October 22, 2009