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Backus lab produces homegrown hand sanitizer

May 13, 2020

With hand sanitizer flying off the shelf, local distilleries and even some homespun scientists have developed and distributed their own versions of today’s hottest commodity. The Backus Hospital pharmacy team has similarly put its stamp on the hand sanitizer business.

In late March, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) issued guidance on the production of alcohol-based hand sanitizer to help boost supply and protect public health. With support from Hartford HealthCare, Mike Lettmoden, a pharmacist and sterile products coordinator in the Backus pharmacy teamed up Dr. Robin Bogner, a professor at the UConn School of Pharmacy to develop a formulation.

Lettmoden engaged several colleagues to help him get the project off the ground. Jim Trammell, a pharmacist from Backus gathered dispensing bottles for mixture and Spencer Martin, director of pharmacy at Hartford Hospital helped supply the Isopropyl used to mix up the batches.

To date, Lettmoden and team have produced about 18 bottles of the hospital grade sanitizer.

The gel formula contains 75 percent alcohol per the FDA’s requirements and is a similar consistency to that of Purell.

“This is a great example of our team members discretionary effort and how they found a way to help colleagues in our hospital,” said Nick Tessier, director of Pharmacy for the East Region.

The East Region piloted the production of the product and is working to identify the areas of greatest need in the region. The supply will likely be distributed to non-patient departments, said Tessier.

As the supply ramps up, the team is seeking donations of pump and squeeze bottles as those too are in short supply across the nation.

The team plans to share the production and distribution process with pharmacy teams across Hartford HealthCare in the coming months. Click HERE to see how it’s made.