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Pharma “leading the pack” despite shipping law issues

By Nick Taylor , 22-Mar-2010

The shipping requirements of drugs means the TSA’s new law poses unique problems to the pharma industry, according to DHL, but experience of tight regulations should help companies achieve compliance.

Pharma shipments may be temperature controlled, use different pallet configurations, have boxes that cannot be opened and products that cannot be x-rayed, all of which create unique problems for companies trying to comply with the new law.

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has created the law to address concerns about aircraft security. When the law comes into force on August 1 each individual unit in a pallet or shipment taking off in the US must be screened.

Enforcing this at airports would be too much for TSA resources, Lonnie Rockford, senior project manager for performance management at DHL, told in-PharmaTechnologist. Consequently, the TSA is granting facilities the right to screen before transport to airports.

Pharma companies operating shipping facilities which are incompliant with the law on August 1 will have to use airport screening. Rockford believes this would lead to service delays and possibly be detrimental to the stability of temperature controlled products.

Fortunately, pharma, having initially adopting “a wait and see attitude”, has worked hard to gain TSA accreditation, according to Rockford. These efforts have been helped by the infrastructure already in place at pharma facilities and the experience of working to tight regulations.

For example, pharma operates very secure facilities, Rockford explained. Consequently some of the measures required by the TSA are already in place at pharma facilities.

Pharma is leading the pack in certification”, said Rockford, adding that several have already been accredited by the TSA. Furthermore, DHL has been collaborating with companies, running a workshop in partnership with American Airlines Cargo to help explain the whole process.

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