Risk and Temperature Controlled Shipping of Pharmaceuticals
In the years past, the pharmaceutical industry did not require the use of the cold chain to transport and store its products. This is because most medications were shelf-stable and did not require strict temperature-controls. Because of the emergence of biologics and other advanced therapies derived from live cells, and their effectiveness in combatting diseases, a number of options have risen to support these sensitive and costly drugs.
Shipping pharmaceuticals is risky as temperature exposure or delays at any stage of the cold chain can lead to loss and risk of consumer safety. You need to be aware of the pitfalls and risks of shipping pharmaceuticals and work with an experienced carrier and qualified cold chain packaging solution to mitigate anything that may go wrong during transit. Using qualified cold chain packaging, your products are transported safely in a test packaging system that protects the product from damage and maintains the required temperature.
Why worry about pharmaceutical shipping risks
Below are three costly risks of shipping pharmaceuticals:
Product Damage and Ineffectiveness
Product specifications and compliance regulations stated that most vaccines are required to be held at a specific temperature throughout the cold chain process. If temperatures get too warm or cold, the vaccine make-up can break down, causing it to be ineffective or dangerous to the end-user. Vaccines are not the only types of products that can be damaged if the required temperature is not maintained. Plasma, blood, and tissue samples can also become damaged if they get too warm or cold. It can also result in a loss of invaluable data during clinical trials. A tiny fluctuation in temperature can be enough to cause subsequent problems concerning product availability and patient safety. It is crucial that the packaging you use to ship your pharmaceuticals has been tested and proven to handle the task.
There are several factors leading to damage, such as:
- Exposure to light or humidity
- Improper handling during packing, shipping, and receiving.
- Temperature excursions beyond the allowable range
- Improperly conditioned gel packs
- Shock and vibration incidents occurring during transport or handling
Unnecessary Costs and Waste
When pharmaceutical products get damaged due to temperature fluctuations during shipping, your company’s bottom line will take a hit. You will be throwing away hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of manufacturing and shipping costs on ineffective products. Regardless of how big your company is, if you’re constantly wasting this much money, your company won’t be successful.
Damaged Company Reputation
As a manufacturer of pharmaceutical products, your consumers rely on and trust that your products will arrive on schedule and in safe condition. If there are delays or temperature excursions when shipping pharmaceuticals, your products may arrive damaged, potentially putting patients’ health at risk. If this happens repeatedly, customers see your company as unreliable, and they will take their business elsewhere. In addition, ineffectiveness of the product denies the public of a vaccine that could safeguard them from disease. This has an impact to your brand, which may take years, if ever, to recover.
Bad logistical systems can be harmful to an organization because of possible lawsuits caused by inadequate treatment. Sicknesses or side effects caused by these temperature-related excursions also require an Investigation that can takes eweeks in labor and costs hundreds of thousands to your bottom line.