Q. I would like to comment on the question of drugs sitting in mailboxes in cold weather. When I worked at a major chain drug store in West Virginia years ago, I remember receiving a pint bottle of a liquid medication that was frozen as solid as a rock.
The huge 18-wheelers in which drugs are delivered from the chain warehouse to individual stores are not temperature controlled. If the truck leaves the chain warehouse at 8 AM and makes its final delivery at 6 PM, the drugs have been sitting in a stone-cold truck for ten hours. So mail order is not the only situation in which drugs might be at risk from extreme weather.
A. Thank you for pointing out this weak link in the drug delivery supply chain. This is something that has worried us for quite a while. We hope that pharmacies will address this problem before too many more years go by.
For some medications, freezing won’t change the composition. But others should be held within a temperature range above freezing to keep them at their best. Large manufacturers are often careful to ship their products in climate-controlled vehicles, but shipping from warehouse to chain store is often, as you have noted, in trucks that have no way of controlling the temperature at all.