How to Safely Transport Pharmaceuticals

Transporting Pharmaceuticals

Transporting pharmaceuticals is a complicated process, as most pharmaceuticals must be kept at very specific temperatures and their deliveries are time sensitive. Because they have greater needs than a typical shipment, the transportation of pharmaceuticals requires more time, attention and resources from a logistics manager to ensure their safe and timely delivery.

What is Cold Chain Transportation?

The term “cold chain transportation” refers to the movement of goods that need to be stored at a specific temperature, such as food products, beverages and pharmaceuticals. Cold chain logistics is a detailed process, starting even earlier than other shipments, as the shipping process must be prepared and accounted for in the production cycle in order to ensure a timely shipment. Because cold chain transportation requires additional, more advanced equipment than a typical shipment, proactively scheduling transportation is essential to secure the necessary equipment.

Keeping Pharmaceuticals Safe During Transportation

In terms of safety, the most important factor in a pharmaceutical transportation is temperature. Pharmaceuticals must be kept at very specific temperatures, ranging from minus 58 degrees to 46 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the needs of a given pharmaceutical, it can be packaged in one of two ways:

Passive cold chain transport is when a product is packaged in styrofoam or a similar material and packed with dry ice. This type of packaging is more often associated with produce transports, as the exact temperature is impossible to monitor and adjust. 

Active cold chain transport necessitates the use of built-in cooling systems that regulate the temperature of a truck to the exact degree and is preferred for pharmaceutical shipments to ensure a safe transportation. Active cold chain transport requires specialized logistics management, equipment and planning but is by far the safest and most useful mode of packaging and transportation for pharmaceuticals. 

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