Use of Pharmacy Grade Refrigerators for Medication Storage

June 2010 : Temperature Monitoring - Vol. 7 No. 6

The popularity of commercial laboratory/pharmacy grade refrigerators for storing pharmaceuticals is growing as awareness of the risks of storing these products in an out-of-range environment is increasing. When a facility switches to automated temperature tracking, it often becomes obvious that pharmacy is spending a significant amount of time adjusting temperatures in non-pharmacy grade units, underscoring the need for commercial pharmacy grade refrigeration and freezer units. These units are better equipped to maintain temperature consistency, bring temperatures down quickly, and are much simpler to service than non-medical grade units. In May 2010, Pharmacy Purchasing & Products conducted a survey of directors of pharmacy nationwide and queried them on their adoption of commercial laboratory/pharmacy grade refrigerators and freezers. While use of these refrigerators and freezers is common in the pharmacy, widespread adoption of pharmacy grade refrigerators and freezers on the floor is less common. Those facilities with automated temperature monitoring in place are not only more likely to use commercial grade units, they also are more likely to be planning to purchase additional units in the near future.

Commercial Grade Refrigerators in Use

The majority of facilities nationwide—regardless of bed-size—use commercial laboratory/pharmacy grade refrigerators and freezers for at least some of their medication refrigeration needs.

Commercial Grade Refrigerators in Use by Location

While drugs are commonly stored in commercial laboratory/pharmacy grade units within the pharmacy, those same drugs are less likely to be stored under the same conditions once they are sent to the floor.

Future Purchasing Plans

Adoption of commercial grade refrigerators and freezers is predicted to increase over the next three years, as 44% of pharmacy directors expect to purchase additional units.


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