- Rollex are a preferred supplier in both sales and service of purpose built medical refrigerators by many government and private health providers as well as regulatory bodies.
- Rollex have a reputation in the industry as being the medical refrigeration experts and that’s because medical refrigeration is all that we do.
- Rollex is committed to helping you achieve and maintain the high standards of keeping your refrigerated medical products in accordance with the cold chain protocols.
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What is the Pharmacist's Responsibility?
In assuming this professional responsibility, Pharmacists and indeed all Medical Practitioners have to decide to what lengths they are prepared to go financially to ensure that their customers receive the vaccines in the condition that they have a right to expect, in other words fully potent.
This requires some serious decision making and not always an easy or indeed inexpensive one as the correct storage refrigeration product is not cheap!
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So What Choices are There?
Available on the market today there are a number of choices as to how temperature sensitive product can be stored. Historically the most common method has been the use of a domestic
refrigerator or in some cases drink display cabinets. However, repeated research has shown over the years that domestic and converted drinks fridges are not suited to this critical task as they are
primarily designed for the storage of food and drink (obviously) and usually feature a number of temperature zones to meet the requirements of the storage of the differing styles of food within
the fridge. These types of refrigerators are simply not designed to meet the special temperature needs of the storage of modern day vaccines, insulin’s and other temperature sensitive product.
It is certainly possible to store product in some of these refrigerators, but a significant set of guidelines must be followed and the practical end result is usually far from satisfactory e.g. temperature sensitive medications must only be stored on the middle and upper shelves or lower shelves depending where the ice compartment might be located, to avoid freezing. In most cases the potential user, once the many benefits of a purpose built unit are explained, will see the logic in changing to a refrigeration system specifically designed to meet the Quality Care requirements of temperature sensitive products. Apart from the cost versus maximum space utilisation the moral requirement of professional care and responsibility simple outweighs going the "cheap" alternative.
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A Word of Advice!
If you do however choose to continue to use a bar type fridge then you should only use the centre shelf as product stored near the evaporator plate or near the top will in all likelihood freeze. The lower shelves in most domestic or converted drinks fridges will simply be too warm. The reason the temperatures can change so dramatically in a large proportion of these types of storage units is that the compressors are simply not programmed to recognise the temperature fluctuation and can remain inactive for anything up to 30 or 40 minutes before recommencing the cooling cycle. One
other point to note is that the over stocking of domestic refrigerators remains the single major problem in product failure, even for the smallest pharmacy. The single shelf scenario is simply
not practical, certainly given the increasing pack sizes which most product suppliers are now using.
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So How Does a Pharmacy / Medical Refrigerator Differ from a Domestic Refrigerator?
- As mentioned above domestic refrigerators and drink display cabinets are designed to perform multiple storage functions from freezing through to provision of various temperature
zones within the cabinets. Because the temperature tolerances for domestic foodstuffs and soft drinks are not critical, provision is also made for storage of product in doors etc. to maximise the utilisation of available space and as a consequence temperature variation throughout these types of refrigerator cabinets can be significant. Temperature control devices and defrost functions in particular in domestic and drink display refrigerators are designed for the storage of items which are not temperature sensitive and as a result can cause wide variation of temperatures to exist in the cabinets.
The key to successful and uniform temperature control is achieved by:
- The use of specialised thermostat controls, which are an integral part of the design of the specialised factory built pharmacy & medical refrigerators cooling systems. ( some have tried fitting hybrid control systems to domestic and display cabinets to try and emulate the sophisticated control systems used in factory built units, however a word of warning, using after market clip on systems may in fact work against the control system built into the product and interfere with defrosting cycles and the other timing cycles causing freezing and the degradation of the vaccine stored within.)
- The use of a cooling system, which returns the internal cabinet to required temperatures as quickly as possible after interruptions such as door openings.
- Fan cooling to ensure even distribution of temperatures throughout the cabinet.
- A defrost system which eliminates “icing up” and is compatible with the maintenance of required internal temperatures.
- A management system that ensures the refrigerator can do its job and which monitors its performance.
- Very importantly fail safe overrides on all functions related to the refrigeration operation.
- Alarm systems to ensure early warning. An alarm which will activate if internal air temperature drops below 2degreeC and also if internal air temperature rises above
- LED screen read out for various temperature readings and monitoring.
There are many other optional features available with the Pharmacy & Medical factory built units not available with the hybrids and they are normally described in suppliers brochures and in their operation manuals.
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- Finally and most importantly when you do decide to purchase a refrigerator: select only from a recognised and Pharmacy endorsed supplier.(check with your Guild advisers). Ensure the supplier has a good network of service agents and also offers regular annual service contracts to support the system you purchase.
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