In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued guidance on how to properly store and transport temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals to ensure that they remained viable. This has since been incredibly important due to the sensitivity of the all-important vaccines that are now giving people a much better chance at surviving the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Knowing how to maintain the proper storage temperatures for your pharmaceuticals not only maintains your supply line, but it’ll ultimately improve the chances of survival for many. A single break in that supply chain can potentially deprive someone of a vaccine or other medications—in the worst case, it can lead to the death of another.
Let’s take a look into what the WHO has recommended that organizations do to ensure that their pharmaceuticals are properly kept, whether they’re being warehoused or transported to another location!
Ensuring Proper Transition Through Importing and Customs
Considering how sensitive pharmaceuticals can be to temperature changes, it is important that pharmaceuticals are transported through ports of entry that are equipped to properly store these items while they’re waiting at dock. There is usually a bit of a wait time while items are being processed through customs, time that pharmaceuticals could be exposed to unsuitable temperatures—that’s why it is crucial that there is a temporary storing area designed to keep temperature-sensitive items safe and within acceptable temperature ranges. Here are some ways that this complication can be potentially avoided:
- Achieve pre-clearance for your pharmaceutical items
- Have a customs clearing agent who is an expert in the handling of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals
Warehousing and Proper Storage
Once your pharmaceuticals have been cleared from customs, your pharmaceuticals should be stored in a warehouse designed to maintain the proper temperature and environment for your pharmaceutical items. Other design considerations should be warehouses designed to also prevent damage from natural disasters and prevent exposure to dust and direct sunlight. Due to how pharmaceuticals can be recalled on occasion or can be found faulty upon arrival or during storage, the warehouse being used should also include an area for the quarantining of bad or compromised pharmaceuticals. Here are some other considerations to take into account when selecting a warehouse for pharmaceutical storage:
- Security for your building should be assessed since pharmaceuticals can make for pricey items to be stolen.
- Check for the integrity of the warehouse’s environmental controls to ensure that they are both accurate and operational.
- Ensure that the power supply of your warehouse has a backup—having a power outage can lead to the spoiling of your stored pharmaceuticals as temperatures are allowed to change and leave the proper storage temperature range. With a backup power supply, this disaster can be prevented.
Features of a Proper Temperature-Controlled Storage Unit
For your pharmaceuticals, it is best to ensure that the storage unit being used for them contains important features that provide monitoring for key information about the unit’s temperature, all to ensure that your pharmaceuticals are kept at the proper temperatures. Here are some features to look for in a temperature-controlled storage unit for pharmaceuticals:
- Sensors for humidity, temperature, and for spotting where fluctuations may be occurring.
- Incredibly sensitive temperature sensors with a margin of 0.5 degrees Celsius.
- Alert system for when temperatures go outside of acceptable temperature ranges (also known as temperature excursions)
These are just some of the features to look out for, but the more features available the better—it is important to remain aware of how your stored pharmaceuticals are doing to ensure that they remain viable for use.
Transporting Temperature-Sensitive Pharmaceuticals
When your pharmaceuticals need to be transported by road, it is crucial to have your items transported by a specialized courier service that has vehicles and personnel dedicated to the safe transportation of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals. A fault in shipping can lead to a significant drop in the viability of pharmaceuticals such as vaccines—improper handling is responsible for roughly a third of vaccines that go bad while in-transit. Vehicles transporting pharmaceuticals should be equipped with temperature sensors, data loggers, and should have the pharmaceuticals packed or stored with cooling materials such as gel packs that can prolong the proper storage temperatures until they’ve reached their destination and are properly stored in warehousing again.
Ship Your Vital Pharmaceuticals Safely and Swiftly with Reliable Couriers
At Reliable Couriers, our 24/7 medical stat courier services are the perfect solution for all your shipments involving temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals. Every vehicle is operated by OSHA and HIPAA protocol trained drivers who will ensure that your pharmaceuticals remain safe in their original condition while they’re zoomed towards their destination. We know how important it is that your pharmaceuticals, especially vaccines, are transported with speed and efficiency to ensure that they’re kept at the proper temperatures—our drivers will find the most direct routes possible to ensure that not a minute is wasted. Give us a call or visit our website to get a free, zero-obligation price quote for your next medical shipment—Reliable Couriers stands ready to have your pharmaceuticals shipped and delivered STAT!