Delivering Your Meds On Time and At Temperature
As we head into the summer months, climate conditions across the U.S. and its territories can vary widely, which can impact the effectiveness of certain medications. While some are unaffected by cold or hot temperatures, others, such as insulin, must stay within a specific temperature range.
At Express Scripts, we’ve developed the highest level of standards for packaging and shipping temperature-sensitive drugs to keep medications safe. Leveraging our proprietary software, we are able to map out the ideal packaging for the journey from our pharmacies to our patients' homes.
Anticipating Weather Patterns with Data-Driven Solutions
For every medication shipment that leaves our pharmacy, we use advanced technology that takes into account the acceptable temperature range for each medication, as well as the entire forecasted weather patterns that the medication will pass through on its journey from our pharmacy to the patient’s hands.
Using a forecasting temperature program with a patented algorithm, shipping and destination temperatures are identified and then matched up to the medication’s temperature profile. We use this information to determine the appropriate shipping timeframe and packaging that should be used in transit.
Special Packaging for Sensitive Medications
For medications that require it, we package them in temperature-protective coolers with gel packs to ensure that the medications stay within a safe temperature range — even if the package is sitting outside for several hours after delivery.
The type of packaging and method of shipping that is used is based on the specific temperature conditions at the time of shipping and also is based on extensive testing that accounts for a wide range of destination temperatures. Therefore, the packaging materials may be different based on the temperature the day the package is mailed.
That said, not all medications require special packaging. We rely on definitions, standards and guidelines published from the United States Pharmacopeia to determine if a medication will require temperature-controlled packaging based on the range of safe temperatures the medication can endure and the current temperature and weather patterns on the delivery route.
Last year, Express Scripts shipped 4.5 million coolers of temperature-sensitive medication and we’re on track to ship 5 million coolers in 2020.
Our Commitment to Medication Safety
At Express Scripts, we are focused on ensuring the integrity of the medication that we ship to patients’ home, and our temperature technology and packaging is just one example. Overall, our dispensing accuracy rate is greater than 99.9995 percent, as a result of our dispensing facilities’ leading-edge systems and technology. If members ever have any questions about their medications, our pharmacists are here to answer questions and support them through the number on the back of their member ID card.
It’s understandable that as temperatures start to fluctuate across the country, with some areas topping 100 degrees, that patients would be concerned about the safety of their medications. However, thanks to more than 30 years of operating a home delivery pharmacy, coupled with advancements in technology, we’re proud to make prescription medications safer and more affordable for the tens of millions of Americans we serve.