Pharmaceutical storage is a type of storage all its own. Most of the world’s top-selling medicines are what are known as medicines of biologic origin. These special drugs, like Humira or vaccines, are critical in helping people live longer, healthier lives. However, these medications are heat-sensitive and very susceptible to contamination, so they are grouped under a special type of storage, ColdPharma, as they need cold temperatures to stay effective.
These medications are also prone to duplication by unsavory persons trying to make money at the expense of human life via counterfeit drugs. As a result, a lot depends on 3PLs and logistics companies establishing a high-visibility supply chain and transporting medicines and vaccines in consistent temperatures to ensure a viable and potent product. Let’s take a look at ColdPharma and CRT, how the logistics industry is helping crack down on counterfeit drugs, and how it’s innovating to meet ColdPharma needs.
What is CRT?
CRT stands for Controlled Room Temperature. Most people associate cold supply chain with food products like dairy and meat, but they aren’t the only products which require specific temperatures for storage and transport. The pharmaceutical industry is growing at an exponential rate as more and more medications require specific temperatures in storage and transit to retain their efficacy and remain safe for use. While some medicines can have different required temperatures, the storage temperature is generally between two and eight degrees Celsius, and between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius during transport.
How Counterfeit Drugs Impact ColdPharma
Medication is a billion-dollar business, and unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies are not the only ones producing these drugs. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 10% of drugs that reach consumers are fake. As a response, the FDA’s Drug Supply Chain Security Act was enacted in 2013 to “…enhance FDA’s ability to help protect consumers from exposure to drugs that may be counterfeit, stolen, contaminated, or otherwise harmful. The system will also improve detection and removal of potentially dangerous drugs from the drug supply chain to protect U.S. consumers.”
The first step in stamping out counterfeit drugs is a meticulous cold supply chain. In this case, not only does the supply chain get the product from A to Z but also establishes a “pedigree” for the product tracking it from its creation in manufacturing through its final retail destination. This comes with high-level visibility throughout the process and complete traceability making the supply chain totally transparent.
Logistics for ColdPharma
Logistics companies are responding to the increase in the ColdPharma sector by refining processes and improving temperature controls. Many logistics companies are adding in additional touchpoints to ensure that pharmaceuticals are consistently staying within the CRT transport temperatures multiple times per day. Other companies are creating and using custom box liners to maintain temperature, ice packs, and special blankets to keep temperatures as consistent as possible while in transit. Barcodes, like the industry standard GS1 barcode, are also being added to most supply chains as a way to ensure pedigree and track a product from stage to stage.
ColdPharma is only increasing and as it does, cold supply chains will need to continually improve. Be on the lookout for new tech that will establish a chain of custody and send warnings about dropping temperatures in real-time. If you are looking for a partner in ColdPharma, Merchandise Warehouse has the experience and technology to help you improve visibility and establish pedigree to ensure that all the medications and vaccines you ship are viable and save lives. Contact us today for more information!