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Storing heat-sensitive medicines

20 May 2014

It is absolutely essential to store heat-sensitive medicines at temperatures between +2 °C and +8 °C while they are in transit. However, pharmaceutical laboratories, wholesalers/retailers or healthcare establishments sometimes lack the necessary information and training with regard to the cold chain. Nevertheless, a few simple recommendations for best practice can remedy the problem!

Why should medicines be stored between +2 °C and +8 °C?

Heat-sensitive medicines should be stored within a specific temperature range of between +2 °C and +8 °C until they are administered to the patient. Indeed, the thermal inertia of a heat-sensitive healthcare product is 4 times lower than that of a food product, as Gilles Labranque – Chairman and Managing Director of Sofrigam – explains:

“ A processed food product is very dense, whereas a healthcare product is characterised by extremely low mass, so it has no thermal inertia. In an ambient environment, the temperature of a heat-sensitive medicine rises very quickly. It can exceed 8 °C in less than four minutes.”

Any temperature deviation will result in deterioration of the medicine: this effect is all the more dangerous because it is invisible and it can also have serious consequences in terms of effective medical treatment and cost.

Learn more about the risks of deterioration of healthcare products

Training sessions in healthcare establishments

Sofrigam has committed itself to informing and training healthcare professionals by contacting them directly in healthcare establishments. For the past three years, we have visited healthcare establishments throughout France in order to give practical advice and to answer questions raised by anyone involved in the transport chain for temperature-sensitive medicines. This is the first initiative of its type for a manufacturer of cold chain shipping packaging solutions.

Sofrigam trains industrial and healthcare professionals with the good management practices of cold chain drugs.

In every link in the cold chain, straightforward and common-sense actions will ensure that the integrity of each heat-sensitive medicine is maintained. For example:

  • Preparing orders as close as possible to the storage area;
  • Taking proper care of the products as soon as they arrive in the healthcare establishment and checking the temperature of the container;
  • Transporting the medicines in temperature controlled and qualified packaging solutions in the cold room of the central pharmacy;
  • Forwarding the medicines to the healthcare/nursing services in a pouch or a refrigerated shoulder bag;
  • and so forth

Efficient packaging solutions to safeguard the cold chain

Sofrigam insulated packaging solutions are composed of highly efficient materials, with the minimum environmental impact. Tested and qualified by the Ater Métrologie test lab, a business partner of Sofrigam, they are reliable and efficient solutions for storing temperature-sensitive medicines at temperatures between +2 °C and +8 °C.

Sofrigam insulated and cold chain shipping packaging are specifically qualified for the transport of heat-sensitive pharmaceuticals.

For example, the insulated Pallet Shippers are ideally suited to the logistical requirements of pharmaceutical laboratories, which need to transport large quantities of medicines around the world. On the other hand, dispensaries and internal pharmacies in hospitals can use cooler bags and insulated shoulder bags. For secure transport of the medicine to the patient’s home or to the clinical services, it is advisable to choose a container which incorporates an insulating barrier and eutectic plates, with a cold generator (the Nomad range is ideal for this purpose). In this way, the preventative and curative properties of the medicine are maintained.

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