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The Ins and Outs of Pharmaceutical Shipping

What Makes Shipping Pharmaceutical Products Special?


The nature of the cargo has a significant impact on how pharmaceutical items must be handled in transportation. Pharmaceuticals can be either finished products transported to merchants or raw ingredients shipped from source to producer. In all cases, particular care and handling are necessary to comply with Federal standards governing pharmaceutical treatment across the whole supply chain.

The delicate nature of the raw ingredients and finished goods accounts for this overlook. The FDA aims to ensure that drugs are not tainted by poor transportation circumstances for medical practitioners and their patients who rely on them.

Where are the majority of pharmaceutical products sent from and to?


Raw materials are the starting point for pharmaceutical goods. These raw resources may originate from the United States or from other nations. Raw ingredients are delivered to manufacturers, who then build the finished product before delivering it to a distributor, store, or medical facility. Typically, raw materials are supplied to manufacturing facilities, biotechnology firms, and medical device makers.
Hospitals, pharmacies, senior living institutions, and personal care facilities are common users of the finished product. All of these facilities are needed to keep raw ingredients and finished products in a manner that offers the proper environmental conditions for the pharmaceutical’s efficacy. In certain circumstances, this entails working in low-light environments, temperature-controlled environments, or even chilled environments.

Shipping Requirements for Pharmaceuticals and Raw Materials

Manufacturers, according to Code of Federal Regulations 111.455 Section C of the Government’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices, “must hold components, dietary supplements, packaging, and labels under conditions that do not lead to the mixup, contamination, or deterioration of components, dietary supplements, packaging, and labels.”
These rules are in place to guarantee that pharmaceutical producers follow the safety criteria for their goods, including raw ingredients. This also includes the shipment of drugs and raw materials. These specifications control temperature, humidity, and light conditions in order to retain the identity, purity, strength, and composition of raw materials and final products. It is important to pick a shipper with a successful track record of shipping pharmaceutical items and supplies in line with Government standards.

Let’s go into the technicalities about transporting pharmaceuticals:

Temperature Control in medications


Some medications are extremely sensitive to temperature fluctuations and must be kept within a specified temperature range. This may be said about the whole supply chain, from raw material sourcing through producer to receiver. Temperature limitations must also be adhered to during the transit process, therefore temperature controlled warehouses, vehicles, and carriers are occasionally required.

Inspections of the Facility are Required


Any facility where drugs are stored or shipped is subject to scrutiny. Warehouses, shipping containers, and any other storage facility along the supply chain are all included. Temperature, light, and the avoidance of any biological, chemical, or physical pollutants are all part of the inspection process.

Package Handling


The FDA has laws governing how pharmaceutical items can be packaged and sent. Essentially, packing and handling must be done such that pharmaceutical items are not destroyed or contaminated.
Administrative criteria include labeling each shipment with the product and container status, and the containers used must not be reactive, additive, or absorptive. Containers must also be resistant to damage and contamination.

Pharmaceutical Product Labeling


Each pharmaceutical product container must be labeled in accordance with FDA rules. Guidelines include the following:

  • Each pharmaceutical product’s name
  • The receipt date
  • The manufacturer’s name
  • Each pharmaceutical product’s amount
  • The primary manufacturer’s name (if different from the supplier’s)
  • The person receiving the Code
  • Lot number(s) of the supplier
  • The results of any tests or inspections performed on the cargo (if completed)

Pharmaceutical Product Delivery


The recipient must inspect each container or palette to ensure that the label matches the contents, that no containers or items are missing, and that there are no evidence of damage, broken seals, or contamination. The receiver must either accept or reject the cargo throughout this phase.

LTL vs FTL: Which is better for shipping pharmaceutical products?


The initial rule of thumb will most likely revolve on the quantity of drugs to transport, the speed with which it must reach, and the destination or destinations.

Pharmaceutical FTL shipping


If the whole freight is enough to fill a truck and is traveling to a single destination, FTL transportation makes the most sense for finished goods. The speed at which drugs are transported might be critical in order to comply with federal laws, therefore FTL provides the quickest route to deliver your goods with no stops in between.
In some cases, an FTL cargo may be divided into multiple smaller shipments after it arrives at a distribution center or cross-docking facility. This is usual for regional shipments that are subsequently dispersed to different pharmacies.

LTL shipment for pharmaceutical products


If your goods does not warrant an FTL shipment, LTL shipping may be the best option. LTL is an excellent method to save money on shipping and transport freight that is less time critical, especially for short-haul shipments.
Keep in mind that LTL shipment implies your freight will be mingled with other freight, so make sure the carrier knows you’re delivering medications.

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