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Storage of veterinary medicines and recommendations during heatwaves

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News of 07/07/2020

Veterinary medicine quality is vital and must be ensured throughout the pharmaceutical chain, from design until use. Each participant in the chain has an influence on one or more parameters and needs to take precautions to guarantee and maintain veterinary medicine quality. The French Agency for Veterinary Medicinal Products is making recommendations on storing medicines, including storage conditions during transport. For this summer, the Agency is also issuing its recommendations for periods of hot weather.

 

The Agency's recommendations

Storage
+2°C to +8°C: Store in a refrigerated cabinet with temperature monitoring. Vaccines should be stored in a refrigerated cabinet unless specifically stated otherwise.
<25°C to 30°C: In the event of hot weather, avoid prolonged exposure to high temperatures.
If there are no specific instructions, store at room temperature. The same precautions should be applied during hot weather.

Store medicines in their packaging, away from light and moisture.

Store medicines away from other products in order to limit the risk of confusion and/or cross-contamination (if possible in separate refrigerated cabinets): plant protection products, biocides, medicines for human use, nutritional supplements, food, etc.

 
Transport

The storage conditions specified in the package leaflet or label should be observed during transport until the veterinary medicine is used.

Medicines to be stored between +2°C and +8°C:

Transport under conditions that comply with the cold chain but do not cause the product to freeze (refrigerated insulated container without direct contact between the eutectic plates and the medicine's packaging).

Medicines to be stored below 25°C or 30°C and medicines to be stored at room temperature:

Avoid prolonged exposure to high temperatures.

Limit stock kept in cars to what is strictly necessary for immediate use, if possible.

 

Recommandations during heatwaves

Generally speaking, temperatures above 40°C expose a drug to the irreversible deterioration of its quality and effectiveness, or even to risks of toxicity due to the formation of degradation products.

  • Medicines to be stored between +2°C and +8°C:

These sensitive drugs should be used promptly after removal from the refrigerator, unless the instructions state that the product should come to room temperature before administration.

They should be transported under conditions that comply with the cold chain but do not cause the product to freeze (refrigerated insulated container without direct contact between the eutectic plates and the medicine's packaging).

The refrigerator temperature should be checked regularly (if possible with a min/max temperature measurement system in case there is a power failure or breakdown).

  • Medicines to be stored below 25°C or 30°C and medicines to be stored at room temperature:

During transport, limit exposure to high temperatures such as those frequently encountered in car boots or passenger compartments exposed to direct sunlight. As a precautionary measure, they should be transported in an unrefrigerated insulated container. Where it is not possible to guarantee storage under optimum conditions, exposed products should be replaced regularly.

In each case, the product's appearance should be examined when it is opened, as any alteration indicates a change in the properties of the pharmaceutical form and/or a risk of degradation of the active substances. Products that are degraded or exposed to high temperatures must be replaced.

The ANMV can offer advice in the event of any doubt and on a case-by-case basis regarding veterinary medicine quality in relation to any adverse storage conditions.