What is MDS?

MDS: The solution to wrong drug use

More than 70% of over-65-year-olds have a chronic condition today; in fact, most have multiple conditions requiring several medicines. About 50% of chronic patients are estimated not to adhere to their prescribed treatments.

One of the core solutions to this situation is a Monitored Dosage System (MDS), a pharmacy service targeted at optimizing good drug use by repackaging pills in specialized, individualized patient blisters.

MDS: The solution to wrong drug use

How does MDS work?

The pharmacist prepares the patient’s medication organized by day and dose in line with the physician’s dosage instructions and reviews it to rule out potential drug-related problems (DRPs). Once the medication has been validated, it is packaged in a duly identified individualized device.

The main benefits of this pharmacy care service are:

  • Facilitates organization, minimizing errors and problems around forgetting to take medicine.
  • Promotes pharmacy care, encouraging treatment adherence and continuity.

Manual MDS: entry barriers

Monitored dosage systems have traditionally been prepared manually and their set-up and maintenance entailed minimum costs. Even though in-pharmacy service implementation is a key point of departure in pharmacy care, there are a number of problems involved with manual preparation.

What are the difficulties of manual MDS for a pharmacy?


The main problem with a manual MDS is that it is very time-consuming, meaning only a very limited number of patients can be covered.

Human Error

Distractions arising from the work environment are a potential source of error during manual MDS preparation.

SOP & Traceability

Standard Operating Practice (SOPs) compliance requires enormous effort and reams of paperwork. And since the control process is performed manually, full traceability is not possible and stock management is complex.

Prescription Management

Correct prescription management is another MDS weak point, complicated by manual data logging.

Physician Engagement

There can also be problems concerning physicians and health systems, in other words, lack of coordination among care levels.


Despite offering individualized pharmacy care, the limitations around a manual MDS make it hard to boost pharmacy returns.

Technology has made it possible to get around these MDS entry barriers by automating it. Monitored dosage systems are now being rolled out in pharmacies to optimize the pharmacist’s work and boost people’s quality of life.

Automatic or manual MDS?

An automatic MDS offers more benefits than its manual counterpart for patients and pharmacists alike:

  • More efficient: optimizes human resources and MDS preparation time, resulting in higher returns for the pharmacy.
  • Safer: reduces the chance of human error in MDS preparation, making the process more reliable.
  • Simpler: enables full data computerization for enhanced process traceability.

MDS automation makes the pharmacist’s work easier and different technological solutions are available to meet each drugstore’s needs. An automatic system also boosts patient loyalty as they can see it improves their health.