By kpeuquet on July 29th, 2013

Members discussed the importance of temperature control when transporting essential medicines and suggested mechanisms to avoid commodity exposure to extreme heat and cold.

Original question: “PSM of health commodities has been the ‘Achilles heel’ in the public sector drug supply chain in developing countries and around the globe due to:

  • complicated procurement procedures
  • lack of personnel, infrastructures
  • lack of vehicles
  • lack of distribution budget for fuels
  • poor geography
  • low or little staff motivation

Therefore, it has been a clarion call for donors, bilateral agencies, and implementing partners involved in drug management programs, and more importantly SCM professionals, to look for innovative solutions for an efficient drug supply in the public health service delivery. Therefore, I bring this topic for discussion to mitigate the chronic risks associated in it as a way forward.”

“Keeping proper temperature regime during transportation is important, but might be not the biggest problem. The first place is the harbor, where the containers can stay for months before they released after been cleared through customs. Then the warehouses, if they are not air conditioned and not insulated from heat. So, if on these two stages your drugs have been already significantly exposed to the high temperature, your concern should be regarding the quality of the drugs rather than cooling conditions during transportation.” (Igor Novykov, Ukraine)

“The cold is destructive to vaccines as it affects efficacy, which ultimately reduces the success of any vaccination programme. Despite this knowledge there still appears to be a huge number of vaccine refrigerators and other storage solutions in the field that freeze vaccines.” (Nigel Saunders)

“In Australia, hardly a country that we associate with the cold, freezing is the most common cause of vaccine loss, not heat.” (Harry Jeene, Kenya)

“I think antibiotics are the most vulnerable drugs amongst those that we call essential, and they significantly lose their potency, when storing during prolonged time at temperature higher than 25-30 C degree. In the port, the containers are stored under open sky, under direct sun rays, which may heat closed container up to 70 C degree and even more. If such exposure would last several months, which may happen, as a doctor, I would not use such drugs for my patients.” (Igor Novykov, Ukraine)

“The article by Hans Hogerzeil and colleagues offers an in depth perspective of some of these Procurement & Supply Management issues, especially with regards to the effects of temperature and relative humidity: “Stability of essential drugs during shipment to the tropics BMJ 1992;304:210-2 25 Jan 1992.”” (Murtada Sesay, India)

Temperature Control as a Procurement and Supply Management Bottleneck of Essential Drugs