Twenty percent of temperature-sensitive products–including vaccines and vital pharmaceuticals–are damaged during the logistics process due to a broken cold chain. The result is detrimental to public health as well as the liability to healthcare providers and loss of revenue. It’s critical to take every available measure to avoid unwanted variations in your supply chain.
Pharmaceuticals require a high level of expertise to ensure they are shipped safely throughout their supply chain. This is one of the most difficult tasks for logistics providers and freight forwarders. The integrity of pharmaceutical products must be protected from the point of manufacturing to the last mile.
While product requirements and packaging are specified based on temperature requirements and stability testing, there are many mishaps that may occur within the logistics chain – delayed shipments, product left on docks for an extended period of time, product not handled correctly by logistics providers, and more.
Temperature control is a major factor when it comes to shipping pharmaceutical products. A 2% drop in temperature variation can result in less effective pharmaceuticals.
The unique nature of shipping pharmaceutical drugs makes it necessary to rely on effective time and temperature monitoring to ensure product is protected.
A slight change in temperature or disruption within the storage of pharmaceuticals may also compromise the quality or efficacy of a drug. At times, there may be many stops along the way within the supply chain to take a pharmaceutical from manufacturing to patient administration. Pharmaceutical handlers have a written process documented to ensure that the product is stored in the proper environment and with the proper thermal management characteristics, protecting the overall integrity of the drug. Newer specialty medications, such as biologics, often require an alternative storage and handling condition.
There are specific storage requirements for standard controlled room temperature (CRT), refrigerated or frozen temperatures for pharmaceuticals:
Safe handling and vaccine storage mishaps can occur anywhere in the supply chain process. These temperature fluctuations can also decrease the potency of the vaccine to varying degrees, which may lead to inadequate immune responses, as well as creating the need for revaccination.