Vol 67, No 2 (2016)
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Published online: 2016-06-28

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Development of software for handling ship’s pharmacy

Giulio Nittari, Alessandro Peretti, Fabio Sibilio, Nicholas Ioannidis, Francesco Amenta
Pubmed: 27364171
IMH 2016;67(2):72-78.


Background: Ships are required to carry a given amount of medicinal products and medications depending on the flag and the type of vessel. These medicines are stored in the so called ship’s “medicine chest” or more properly — a ship pharmacy. Owing to the progress of medical sciences and to the increase in the mean age of seafarers employed on board ships, the number of pharmaceutical products and medical devices required by regulations to be carried on board ships is increasing. This may make handling of the ship’s medicine chest a problem primarily on large ships sailing on intercontinental routes due to the difficulty in identifying the correspondence between medicines obtained abroad with those available at the national market. To minimise these problems a tool named Pharmacy Ship (acronym: PARSI) has been developed.

Materials and methods: The application PARSI is based on a database containing the information about medicines and medical devices required by different countries regulations. In the first application the system was standardised to comply with the Italian regulations issued on the 1st October, 2015 which entered into force on the 18 January 2016.

Results: Thanks to PARSI it was possible to standardize the inventory procedures, facilitate the work of maritime health authorities and make it easier for the crew, not professional in the field, to handle the ‘medicine chest’ correctly by automating the procedures for medicines management. As far as we know there are no other similar tools available at the moment. The application of the software, as well as the automation of different activities, currently carried out manually, will help manage (qualitatively and quantitatively) the ship’s pharmacy.

Conclusions: The system developed in this study has proved to be an effective tool which serves to guarantee the compliance of the ship pharmacy with regulations of the flag state in terms of medicinal products and medications. Sharing the system with the Telemedical Maritime Assistance Service may result in avoiding mistakes in drug administration. Last but not least the availability of PARSI could help reduce/ avoid problems with maritime health authorities in case any of the required medicinal products are missing.  

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