Last summer it seemed like the media reports of record-breaking temperatures, wildfires and droughts were never-ending. And like farmers and ski resort managers, heat and cold are of particular interest to me because of my role at UPS as a temperature-sensitive packaging professional.
Keeping medicines at the right temperature is essential if they are to work well, and it’s vital to the health of patients. Whether you need an annual flu shot or your regular supply of insulin, it’s likely that a great deal of work has gone into designing the packaging it’s shipped in. Packaging may be the only protection that stands between your medicine and the outside world, from the manufacturer to the point of care, whether that’s a doctor’s office, an outpatient surgery center or even your own home. In fact, a recent UPS survey investigating healthcare supply chain challenges found that product protection is one of the biggest challenges healthcare manufacturers face.
If medicine spoils because of inadequate packaging, it certainly won’t do you any good and may even be harmful. It immediately presents a headache (no pun intended) to the doctor, the patient and the medicine manufacturer. The drugs must be returned, replacements must be shipped, and you might have to return the next day or go somewhere else to get the treatment you need.
And, getting back to those record temperatures, it’s also about the external ambient temperature. We’ve extensively mapped the ambient temperatures that shipments are exposed to in both the heat of summer and the depths of winter, and the range of temperatures is amazing. I factor in this very important information to help assess the conditions that the shipment is up against, and then determine what kind of packaging is needed to overcome the environmental challenge most efficiently. (Contrary to what one might imagine, we’d far rather a customer use the smallest, lightest and most efficient shipment possible instead of a hefty, inefficient one carrying exactly the same product. I’m responsible for keeping an eye on the environment, too.)
UPS has become a thought leader in healthcare logistics for very good reasons. We apply our logistics expertise to all the challenges of sensitive product protection – and we thoroughly understand that there is a patient at the end of the supply chain. Our goal is always to get the right product to the right patient in the right condition at the right time. (And we succeed: watch a video made by one happy healthcare customer.) We help healthcare manufacturers protect their products, their profit and their patients, helping to facilitate wellness among us all – and even save lives.
So the next time you visit a doctor’s office, a drugstore or any other care center for your healthcare needs, remember that the medicine that comes out of the doctor’s fridge had to get there somehow – and it had to arrive in optimal condition. You never know, UPS may have consulted on the packaging as well as ensured the on-time delivery for your temperature-sensitive medicine. And that helps us all stay healthy, hearty and happy.
|Category:||Healthcare, Temperature Control|
|Tags:||health care, Packaging and labeling, Patient, supply chain|