If you run a pharmacy, you will no doubt store a wide variety of medicines and vaccines on your premises.
If so, many of these will be stored in a specialist pharmacy refrigerator. These are very different from standard fridges used in the home, because they come with highly accurate temperature control features.
But why is accurate temperature control so essential when storing medicines in your pharmacy.
Medicines Need to Be Stored at Specific Temperatures
Some medicines – and most vaccines – need to be stored within a specific temperature range, usually between 2°C and 8°C.
This is the temperature range that keeps them stable. In the case of vaccines, they need to stay within this range in order to be able to affect the immune system. If they get too hot, their immunogenicity is diminished and they can become useless.
Some vaccines, like measles, are particularly sensitive to temperature. When the temperature is too high, these vaccines can be easily damaged.
When the temperature gets too cold, this can also cause damage to vaccines. The diluent, which is the liquid used in many vaccines, can freeze in cold temperatures and this can destroy the vaccine.
As a result, they must be kept within this tight temperature range from the moment they are produced right up until they are used.
Temperature Fluctuations Can Result in Financial Loss
The problem with using standard home fridges, or low-quality medical fridges, is that they cannot control the temperature accurately enough.
When certain medicines and vaccines are stored in a temperature range that fluctuates, they can become irreversibly damaged. Their potency is affected and they become unsafe to use, because they could expose the patient to the disease.
Once damaged, the vaccine essentially becomes useless. Vaccines and medicines cost a lot of money and this can result in a significant financial loss for your pharmacy if you need to replace them.
How Specialist Pharmacy Fridges Maintain the Correct Temperature
There are a few ways in which pharmacy fridges provide better storage for vaccines and medicines.
The main benefit of these fridges is that the temperature control settings are far more accurate. When you set the temperature, it does not fluctuate like a standard fridge for food and drink, but stays within the specified range.
A good pharmacy fridge will use temperature probes. These monitor the temperature at all times and stabilise it, so the temperature is always even. They also measure the actual temperature of the vaccines and not just the temperature of the air, which leads to more accurate temperature control.
A pharmacy fridge may also come with an alarm to alert users when the temperature goes out of the specified range.
For example, should the door be left open by accident or there is a fault in the refrigerator, an audible alarm will sound. This allows you to take action rapidly to resolve the problem before the medicines are destroyed.
In addition, some pharmacy fridges come with detailed temperature data recording which functions 24/7, so you can keep a close eye on the temperature at all times, even out of hours.
Always Store Medicines in Specialist Pharmacy Fridges
Never store your medicines or vaccines in a fridge that has not been specially designed for this purpose. It’s not worth the risk. The danger of losing the expensive medications is real and it could have a serious financial impact on your business.
Of course, there are many types of pharmacy fridges to choose from, some of which are better than others.
So look around and see what’s available. As well as highly accurate temperature control, you might want a fridge with extra features, such as a lock for additional security or an eco-friendly design that uses less electricity.
Explore your options and find the right fridge for your pharmacy, to ensure all your medicines and vaccines are stored correctly at all times.