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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

The Weakest Link

Abbes Kacimi and Gilles Labranque of Sofrigam address the potential risks associated with cool pouches

The cold chain has made considerable progress in recent years in the field of health products. Efforts have been made by various interested parties – pharmaceutical laboratories, inspection and standards organisations, distributors, pharmacists, logistics experts and problem solvers – to provide greater control over and improved management of cold chain logistics. The aim is to provide the patient with a product that has retained all of its therapeutic qualities, and a lot of money has been spent on reaching that objective. Although there has been some success between manufacturing the product and the dispensary, the final segment of the chain, which is often in the hands of the patient, is still difficult to control and qualify. This is the weak link in the cold chain. What happens when the patient leaves the pharmacy with his vaccine to go home or to the doctor’s surgery? How does he carry the vaccine? And, more importantly, has the product retained all of the required qualities when it comes to be administered?

A PRODUCT WITH VERY LOW THERMAL INERTIA

Medicines have low thermal inertia, often 10 per cent lower than that of water. Its temperature can vary rapidly depending on the surrounding environment in which it finds itself. It only takes a few minutes for a vaccine to leave its required temperature range once exposed to heat or cold without protection. As a result of such changes, some products can deteriorate or lose their effectiveness.


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Abbes Kacimi is an Engineer in Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning, and a Mathematics and Thermodynamics teacher. Abbes graduated from Constantine University in 1988, and was certified for Engineering Studies in 1991. In 2001/2002, he trained at the French Institute of Industrial Refrigeration in Paris. Abbes is Head of the Engineering Department at Sofrigam, and is responsible for the development and validation of cooling containers for pharmaceutical products. He has contributed to several projects in France and Europe, and published several articles on the cold chain.

Gilles Labranque graduated from the French Institute of Industrial Refrigeration, Paris. He was a Commercial Engineer in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration for seven years, after which he continued his career at Sofrigam, in 1991, as Chief Project Manager in the field of Chemical Refrigeration. He was at the origin of three granted patents. He assumed his current position as Managing Director in 1994, and became a key participant in the development of the company which now extends over Europe, the Middle East, South America, Australia and Taiwan.

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Abbes Kacimi
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