Not too hot, not too cold: Storing pharmaceuticals the correct way

The development of medication, is a rigorous process, starting with discovery and development, through to preclinical research, clinical research, FDA review (or similar national review process) and finally safety monitoring once the drug is on the market. The final product being a highly-purposed product with strict regulations that have to be respected and adhered to.

One of the most important, and often overlooked regulations is temperature, which is specified and must be adhered to during transport and storage. A study titled “Storage temperatures of medications: does it really matter?” shows that medication is affected to varying degrees by discrepancy in temperature. Their potency may even be compromised which leaves the patient with symptoms that they do not expect to have once they’ve taken the prescribed drug.

New York Times writer Walecia Konrad wrote an article titled: “Mistakes in Storage May alter Medication.” She shares that her then 10-year-old son suffered with severe allergies and the medication that she gave him, (which is normally very affective) did not alter his symptoms at all. Only after consulting with a pharmacist did she learn that medication can be altered or, as in her son’s case, be rendered ineffective when exposed to extreme temperatures.

Most pharmaceutical manufacturers recommend the bulk of their products be stored between 20 and 23 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to tell whether medication has been compromised just by looking, which is why it is advised to know the storage indications beforehand and comply to them. How does one distinguish what temperature guidelines mean?

Certain vaccines, need to be stored frozen at -20°C (4°F). This is normally for longer-term storage. Some products shouldn’t be frozen but are sensitive to heat, these medications should be stored between 8°-15°C (45°-59°F). Then there are those that need to stay at room temperature, which is between 15° and 25°C (59°-77°F).

Thankfully, since the invention of the thermometer in 1714, there have been great measures taken in the temperature monitoring industry. We currently supply certain companies within the medical industry with state of the art temperature monitoring solutions which are accurate and simple to manage. There should be no need for compromised products with the products available on the market today.