7 Things to Know Before Shipping Pharmaceuticals

Posted by Benjamin Meskin on Dec 18, 2019 10:26:00 AM
Benjamin Meskin

Man packing pharmaceuticals

Shipping pharmaceuticals and medical equipment is more common now than ever. Whether you manufacture medicine, operate a medical storage facility, or a have mail-order pharmaceutical company, you are shipping life-saving mediations and equipment that is potentially more fragile than glass.

Shipping pharmaceuticals requires more than just putting something in an envelope or even a box and calling a typical shipping provider. You must use specific medical logistics shipping solutions to make sure your pharmaceuticals get to your intended destination unharmed and intact. In addition, you need to stay compliant with current pharmaceutical shipping rules. 


7 Tips for Shipping Pharmaceuticals 

Here are seven things you should know before shipping pharmaceuticals.


1. Know the Laws

Pharmaceuticals can be chemicals, prescriptions, machinery, or human organs and fluid. Much like alcohol and perfumes, these items can be considered dangerous substances. Therefore, they are subject to federal and local laws concerning such shipments. Before determining how you can ship and what you need to do to protect your shipment, you must know the laws and make sure your shipping process follows them.


2. Have the Proper Licensing

Along with knowing the law, you must use a shipping company that has the proper licensing. There are particular licensing requirements to participate in shipping pharmaceuticals. While you do not need to know what those requirements are, you must make sure the company shipping your pharmaceuticals knows those requirements and holds all required licensing to operate as a pharmaceutical shipping company.


3. Consider Temperature Control

Pharmaceuticals are fragile. Throughout this process, this concept is repeated. They are a mixture of chemicals, equipment, and bodily fluids. These products become easily damaged, going from one climate to another, especially liquid products and fragile medical equipment.

Many pharmaceutical products are stored in temperature-controlled environments. If they are held in too warm or too cold of a temperature, the makeup of the product can be altered to the point they can cause harm instead of helping patients.

All of this is necessary to understand because shipping these products must be held at the same temperature needed for storage. Shipping can last a few days, and any extended period in a temperature that is not conducive to the pharmaceutical product can alter the chemical makeup and functionality of the product.

This type of altercation of the pharmaceutical can lead to medical malpractice claims, death, and other charges and lawsuits that can cripple your company.


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4. Use Thermal Pallet Covers

It is clear the pharmaceuticals should be shipped in temperature-controlled containers. Thermal pallet covers are an additional level of protection used within these containers. The goal is to protect the products from several issues. Some of the protection such added protection provides include:

  • Protecting products from movement and spilling in shipping
  • Protection from humidity
  • Protection from sunlight
  • Protection from environmental elements, such as rain and snow
  • Protection from temperature changes

Thermal pallets are an excellent way to add stability and a reasonably cost-effective manner, protecting the products and providing extra insurance. Thermal pallets can help mitigate lost product and protect these valuable shipments.


5. Choose the Right Shipping Container

Packages shift during the shipment process. However, when pharmaceuticals shift in the process, the chemical reactions of the products may be altered. Or the equipment may break. Either way, it is a costly error when anything happens to pharmaceutical products in the shipment. As a result, your packaging matters. Pharmaceuticals need to be appropriately fitted into their containers.

Standard boxes may work for some pharmaceutical companies. However, many products require unique packaging options, including individual compartments, ice, added light, extreme dark, and more.


6. Documentation is Key

As with any business transaction, documentation is critical. Maintaining a proper chain of custody helps to prove the shipment went out unaltered, was packaged properly, and went through the proper protocols. If the package arrives in an altered state, you may be able to avoid a lawsuit and even file your own claim because you followed all of the required protocols. Some ways to document your shipment and process may include:

  • Create a chain of custody that includes your name and signature and the name and signature of each person that comes in contact with the shipment
  • Take photos of the shipment before packaging
  • Take photos of each stage of the packaging and preparation for shipment
  • Take pictures of the temperature gages at several points throughout the shipping process
  • Take photos of drivers’ or pilots’ licensing used in the shipping process
  • Take photos of the final delivery
  • Ask the recipient of final delivery to sign for the product and take photos of his or her ID


7. Make Sure You Are Properly Insured

Shipping pharmaceuticals is necessary, but it is full of risks. As with any risk in business, it is essential to protect yourself, your business, and your shipment.

This loss can profoundly affect your bottom line and, if unprotected, can cause you to lose your business eventually. This fact is why shipping insurance is necessary for this process. If you do everything correctly, as recommended above, you will show that you followed the industry standards to attempt to avoid any loss.

As a result, you should be able to use insurance to help mitigate the financial damage that may, and likely, will occur during the shipment process. You would not ship electronics, expensive jewelry, or any other shipment worth a lot of money without buying insurance. Why would you risk sending pharmaceuticals without insurance?


Final Thoughts


When shipping pharmaceuticals, it is essential to know what you are getting into and protect yourself and your shipment from damage. Damage can come in many forms and can be unpredictable. However, damage to pharmaceuticals can do more than harm the delivery. Unchecked products can harm humans and cause death. This harm creates an added risk that many other types of shipments never encounter. Extra caution is necessary to protect human lives, as well as valuable shipments.

If you regularly ship pharmaceuticals or other delicate goods, your freight may be under-insured. Learn more and receive a dedicated shipping plan for your business with the link below.






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