3 Golden rules when selecting your temperature control solution

When it comes to protecting pharmaceutical products from temperature excursions, there is a wide offer of different solutions available on the market. From thermal wrapping to active solutions, each and every solution has its pros and cons.

What you need to know prior the selection of the solution

 I would like to focus on three main parameters that will affect the selected solution

1.      The category your pharmaceutical products

When moving your pharmaceutical goods, you need to know what temperature deviation the goods can handle, by how much and how long. Some products are stated to be stored and moved in temperature that needs to be 15°C and 25°C, but can handle excursion over and under this requirement. This would allow selecting a more flexible and cheaper solution in order to move the goods.

2.      The lane selected

When shipping goods from point A to point B, your goods won’t necessarily travel directly, and it won’t be the case for many situations. Therefore, the route that your goods will be going though needs to be assed with a line risk assessments (LRA). This will allow you to minimize the risk of temperature excursion to your product while assuring that your goods are travelling in the most efficient way. You may want to favor lay over at key airports in EU such as Brussels, first airport to be CEIV certified – Excellence in Pharmaceutical Logistics – by the IATA, or Frankfort, where they are equipped with vast GDP certified facilities directly at the airport.

Transiting by the Gulf region, you might want to transit through Abu Dhabi airport, where they are equipped with cooling dollies on the tarmac.

3.      The airfreight service

Most of major airlines have what we can call a pharma service option for airfreight shipments. The name might vary from one airline to another, and from one freight forwarder to another, but basically says the same: it provide a certain degree of temperature controlling processes, such as a special compartment on the aircraft, or a model of last out of the airport storage facility and first in the aircraft in order to minimize tarmac exposure time.

Selecting the proper solution

Nowadays, there is a vast portfolio of product to control temperature on aircraft, from simple thermo wrapping, to active solutions, such as Envirotainer, with multiple choices in between. In the last few years, technology has evolved significantly for the category of passive shippers, both for pallets or single boxes. In this category, you can find single use or reusable solutions, depending on the network in which your goods are moving.


Cost wise, usually thermo wrapping and thermo blankets are the cheapest, but in use with an airline pharma service along with a rigorous line risk assessment, they can become a very cost optimal solution for a 15°C - 25°C requirement. You need to cover the top and walls of your goods, but do not forget to also cover the base of your pallet, as in summer, most of the heat comes from the tarmac.

Performance wise, passive solutions such as pallet shippers are now days very reliable and high performing. They can be used for both 15°C - 25°C and 2°C - 8°C shipments in a reliable way. Also, they can come in quite cost efficient for a company that does inbound and outbound shipments. Most of those passive solution manufacturers provide a guide to reuse them.

Last one would be the active solution. Definitely a reliable solution, but the biggest advantage is the how easy the solution is to use. Simply setup at the required temperature, load your goods into the solution once the temperature as reach the required degree and you are good to go.

Keep in mind those three key points:

  1. No matter what solution you are using, make sure you track the temperature through all of the trip of your goods
  2. Involve your quality and compliance team, as those solution would most likely need to be validated
  3. Cost is not the only thing – quality and compliance is also a big factor to make the right decision