HYDERABAD: The medicines you consume probably aren’t working as effectively as they should, because pharmacies often don’t adhere to the specified storage conditions. Most medicines — including tablets, capsules, ointments and injections — carry labels mentioning the conditions under which they must be stored. While a common condition is a ‘cool and dry place’, another important specification is the temperature.
Apart from medicines that require refrigeration, most mention that they must be stored at less than 30 degree Celsius, an international standard as per the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. Some mention that they must be stored at ambient, room, or normal temperature, which means the same.
Unfortunately, in tropical places like Hyderabad, where temperatures even climb beyond 40 degree Celsius, many pharmacies have no air conditioning (AC) system to control the temperature. As a result, medicines are not stored in the required conditions, affecting their efficacy and shelf life.
When a group of researchers from a well-known private research institute in Hyderabad conducted a study on 108 pharmacies selected from all zones under the GHMC, they found that 83 per cent of the pharmacies did not have ACs to maintain the right temperature, and argued that having ACs at pharmacies must be mandated by law.
‘Take action against erring pharmacies’
However, uncontrolled room temperature is not the only problem. “The temperatures surrounding refrigerators at pharmacies are very high, but many pharmacies stack medicines even at these places. It should be ensured that all pharmacies adhere to the temperature and humidity storage conditions as printed on medicine labels, and the government authorities concerned must take action against erring pharmacies,” said Indian Pharmacological Society president Dr B Dinesh Kumar.
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) last year released draft guidelines on good distribution practices for pharmaceutical products, which has provisions on ensuring that temperature and environment storage norms are adhered to.