New rules for transportation of medicines

Nada S. Mussallam
Filed on June 2, 2007

ABU DHABI — With the summer heat increasing day by day, new rules for transportation of essential drugs will be enforced from mid-June, according to an official source at the Health Authority, Abu Dhabi (HAAD).

“Some regulations regarding transportation of medicines will be ready by June 15 for implementation in order to guarantee efficacy of imported pharmaceutical products,” revealed Dr Mohammed Abu Elkhair, Director of the Drug Department at HA-AD.

According to him, a comprehensive training course, titled ‘Cold Supply Chain’, will be conducted in order to educate people engaged in handling of medicines, including drug distributors.

“We will also focus on the public as the training programme will educate them how to safely store medicines during summer when temperature and humidity are high,” he said.

Dr. Elkhair told Khaleej Times that transporting medicines in temperatures other than the prescribed limit could lead to inefficacy of the drugs.

“Throughout the transport chain, from the exporter to customs authorities to clearing agents to distributors, stores to pharmacies up to the consumer, a certain temperature must be maintained to preserve the quality of the medicines.”

He said exposure to heat could result in change in colour and taste of the medicine, reduction of potency and efficacy and precipitation (in solutions and suspensions where chemicals are settled at the bottom of the bottle).

“The quality of medicine could be greatly affected and the medication would not yield desired results if it is transported in improper temperatures,” said Dr Elkhair.

According to him, “Medicines should not be kept in the car if the temperature is above 45 degrees and if the person has to travel a long distance, specially if the AC is not working. People are also advised not to leave drugs in the bathroom where humidity is relatively high.”

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