Thermal Shipping Technologies – Packing Heat?
In direct-to-patient specialty pharmacy operations, investing in cold chain technology and processes can protect costly biologic medicines and minimize risk to patients. With few exceptions, biologics to treat chronic diseases require special storage, shipping and handling logistics to ensure they stay within the recommended temperature range. Exposure to excessive heat or cold can diminish or destroy drug potency, and patients unwittingly administered temperature-damaged medicine may experience a host of clinical failures, like interruptions in treatment protocol, lack of symptom relief, and adverse events.
In recent years, the increase in the number of new biologic treatments has contributed to the development of thermal packaging solutions to reduce risk and ensure better control of the cold chain process. Among these innovations are more advanced shipping materials, more effective packaging solutions, improvements in shipping methodology and management, and the introduction of portable thermal containers which allow patients to travel with their medicines –with confidence. All have helped improve outcomes and control the cost of caring for patients with chronic conditions.
However, these newer technologies are not universally suitable for all delivery channels. And, although they are all designed specifically to protect temperature-sensitive medicines from heat or freeze damage during transit, a recent study of the most commonly used technologies employed by specialty pharmacies for home delivery found they are not enough to protect these costly and important medicines.
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