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The whereabouts and quality of medicines are closely monitored from their production to their delivery at your local pharmacist. These safety measures prevent drugs from being contaminated or stolen, and they help secure your safety and the safety of patients worldwide.
Your medicines get a truly royal treatment. They are considered VIP’s (Very Important products) from their very inception. They are produced with special care, stored in the best conditions and they travel in style. Do you want to know what this looks like?
Very Important Products
It is very common these days to order products on the internet. Whether you buy books, electronics or clothing form online retailers, nowadays you can follow each step of the delivery process through track and trace:
You get a notification when your order is received
You get a notification when your order is picked
You get a notification when your order is sent for transport
You get a notification when your order arrives at a local distribution point
You get a follow-up notification to check whether the product arrived in good order
The whereabouts and quality of your medicines are monitored and protected by similar but much more stringent track and trace mechanisms. The entire production and journey of your drugs to your local pharmacist are closely monitored and documented. For your safety only.
Track and Trace to the extreme
Most drugs are made from ingredients from all of the world. The pharmaceutical industry monitors and documents the origins and quality of every single one of these ingredients with the greatest care. This allows us to safeguard public health and to trace back the origins of safety issues should any issues arise with the drugs at a later stage.
The transport of individual ingredients and intermediate goods is a challenge in its own right. Take the ingredients of vaccines for example. Since many of these ingredients are sensitive to temperature and/or humidity changes, they are stored and moved in secured temperature protective packaging with dry ice and cooling packs. This way we can ensure a constant and safe temperature and humidity. Depending on the product, we even go as far as measuring physical disruptions such as shocks during the transport. Imagine what it takes to organize such transports over air, sea and land!
Evidently, the production of medicinal products requires great care as well. The cells that are used for the production of your vaccines for example are often stored in liquid nitrogen. They are cultivated from small sterile flasks to huge fermenters where they encounter the best possible circumstances for growth. Oxygen and feeding materials are added and waste is removed. Critical parameters are constantly monitored, both on-line and offline.
Before your drugs embark on their final journey to your local pharmacist, they are kept in special conditioned rooms and warehouses. And prior to releasing them to the public, each lot is extensively tested to secure public safety. After a last trip in a cooled container with tampered material, your drugs end up in a secured refrigerator at your local pharmacist waiting for you to pick them up.
There is more to your drugs than meets the eye
The safety measures, the detailed monitoring, the secured transports… all of this seems inspired by the script of a blockbuster movie. It is reassuring though that the pharmaceutical industry takes such great care to protect public health. This takes a lot of effort, but is very inspiring to be involved in the process!
Would you like to know more?
Do you have any questions regarding the production, transport, quality and safety of your drugs? Please let us know through the form below. You can also subscribe to this blog! If you subscribe below, you get all our future blog posts delivered in your inbox.
Frans Bosselaar has been working in the pharmaceutical industry for almost 20 years now. Over the years he has been involved with the production, qualification, validation, supply chain and quality assurance of medicines.