Transporting temperature sensitive pharmaceutical drugs
Monitoring the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain
Temperature-controlled pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines and medicines require special packaging, storage, shipping and handling to ensure they stay between 2°C to 8°C which is specified by numerous national and international regulations to ensure product quality. Maintaining a temperature between 2°C to 8°C in the pharmaceutical supply chain is particularly important during seasonal extremes often seen within summer and winter. Exposure to temperature extremes can destroy the strength within drugs, potentially causing serious health problems. Ensuring corrent temperature of drugs is particularly important when self-administered drugs are being shipped. Users have no way of knowing if a temperature breach has occurred resulting in the drugs being compromised.
Pharmacies often use thermal shipping methods such as insulated bubble bags, insulated envelopes or coolers that claim to maintain a temperature for up to 24 hours. A recent study of these systems outlined that these methods performed below average which resulted in the transported drugs’ temperature breaching the predetermined threshold.
The study not only highlighted that new packaging methods should be investigated, but also suggested utilising a visual control when transporting temperature sensitive medicines, vaccines and drugs for immediate identification of breach.
Products such as the Healthcare Cold Chain complete is an excellent example of a visual temperature indication that can be used in conjunction with thermal packaging to highlight if the product being measured has been exposed to temperatures outside the suggested 2°C – 8°C.