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Dear ESOP-members!

In this newsletter we would like to present two current ESOP-projects to keep you updated on our activities and to give new impetus to your own daily work.


Start of project EPIC

Abbreviation EPIC stands for "Empowering pharmacists to improve health care for oral chemotherapy patients: Establishment of a European best-practice model". The actual work began more or less one year ago, when we established the framework of the project and submitted the complex application to the 3rd Health Programme Call for Proposals for Projects 2014. Our project, which will be also participated by DGOP (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Onkologische Pharmazie), EHAS (Eesti Haiglaapteekrite Selts) and LZS (Lekarniška zbornica Slovenije), was favorably evaluated by European Commission and they invited us to prepare and sign the Grant agreement.

The project targets the pharmacists involved in the dispensing of oral anticancer drugs with emphasis on education and adherence, and it aims to improve current practice in different countries. Our goals are to improve the quality of oncology patient counselling by pharmacists, to improve patients understanding of his or her pharmacotherapy and to establish a best practice model available for implementation EU-countries.
The project, which will run for 3 years, is substantially divided into 8 Work packages (WP). In addition to the mandatory WPs, which are coordination, dissemination and evaluation, we will also conduct following WPs:

  • analysis of current management of oral chemotherapy drugs and educational needs of pharmacists who dispense this drugs in the EU countries
  • evaluation of the German training program and pharmaceutical counselling tools
  • educational program for pharmacists about cancer care and oral anticancer drugs
  • support and tools for pharmaceutical counselling in the field of oral anticancer drugs
  • evaluation of the training program and pharmaceutical counselling tools developed in the project

Since our project is international and the results will be available of other members of ESOP, we will need your support, especially in carrying out survey in the autumn. We are really counting on your support!
You will be regularly informed about the course of the project in the newsletters, web-site and in our meetings. If you need any further information, you are always welcome to contact us at: epic@esop.li.

With kind regards,
Andreja Eberl
EPIC project coordinator

"This newsletter is part of the project / joint action ‘664509 / EPIC’ which has received funding from theEuropean Union’s Health Programme (2014-2020)".


ESOP pilot study on cytotoxic contamination in the workplace

Safe handling procedures should be closely monitored in all areas where antineoplastic drugs are delivered, stored, prepared, administered and disposed of. They are designed to reduce exposure of healthcare workers.

An ESOP pilot study on cytotoxic contamination in the workplace was conducted to evaluate and compare surface contamination with these drugs at various sites, including preparation (pharmacy) and administration (ward) areas in European hospitals. The main goal for the project was to obtain an overview of the current levels of cytotoxic contamination in the workplace across Europe. Additionally, the preliminary results would help to develop additional measures and programs to improve working conditions and quality control.

The pilot study consisted of two parts: Evaluation of surface contamination in preparation and administration areas (part I); and after implementation of cleaning recommendations (part II). The surface contamination for 12 antineoplastic drugs (cyclophosphamide, docetaxel, doxorubicine, etoposide, epirubicin, 5-fluorouracil, gemcitabine, ifosfamide, irinotecan, methotrexate, paclitaxel and topotecan) was assessed using a wipe sampling method. In each hospital wipe samples were taken from 10 comparable surfaces: 5 in the pharmacy and 5 in the oncology ward.

Nineteen (19) hospitals participated in the study but the database includes results from fifteen (15).  The presence of surface contamination in preparation and administration areas was discovered in all investigated hospitals. The level of contamination may have varied in each hospital but measurable amounts of at least one agent were detected on sampled surfaces in every one. There was no correlation between the level of contamination and the amount of drugs prepared. In fact, there was less contamination when there was a higher number of preparations.

In most hospitals, substances were detected which were not prepared or administrated in the sampling day. This highlighted the need to review and then implement new cleaning procedures, especially in the hospitals where the level of contamination was high. After implementing the ESOP cleaning recommendations, the total contamination in the preparation and administration areas has been reduced.  Contamination was detected mostly on the work surfaces of Biological Safety Cabinets/Isolators, on the floors (in the pharmacy and in the ward) and on the armrest of patient’s chair. The highest number of positive results were recorded mainly with gemcitabine, 5-fluorouracil, cyclophosphamide and paclitaxel.

The ESOP pilot study has provided a brief overview of the local procedures for the safe handling of cytotoxic drugs in European hospitals; it has also increased our knowledge about the risks of contamination with these drugs.

In September, we will start phase 3 of the ESOP cytotoxic contamination project. The design of this research is based on the knowledge and results obtained during the pilot study. The first results of the phase 3 research will be presented at the 3rd ECOP Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia, 19-21 May 2016.

With kind regards,
Ewelina Korczowska
Chair “Cytotoxic Drugs Contamination”