Proper Protocol The Importance of the Lab Refrigerator, Locked Doors and More

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If you’ve ever worked in a doctor’s office or a pharmacy, hopefully it’s safe to say you were thoroughly trained in the proper protocol for storing medicine. This is a huge topic for numerous reasons, as it can be a public safety concern as well as an issue when it comes to keeping dangerous narcotics off the street. You should know to keep all required drugs in the correct lab refrigerator, and so on.

Any time you’re handling a medication, vaccine or any other form of drug, you need to be very aware of how it’s supposed to be handled and stored. Many vaccines are required to kept in vaccine storage refrigerators. It should be a stand alone freezer for vaccines meant to kept them preserved. There also may be a different available freezer for pharmaceuticals that should be kept away from the vaccines.

Having more than one medical refrigerator in a doctor’s office is very important, as many of the things stored in them shouldn’t be kept together. Take, for example, blood samples and pharmaceuticals. These things need to be kept in a separate lab refrigerator so there’s absolutely no chance of cross-contamination. In addition, make sure that your lab refrigerator is set to exactly the correct temperature that’s required. This depends on the specific goods that are being stored in it, so it differs between vaccines and other pharmaceuticals. Typically, vaccines need to be frozen while other cooled pharmaceuticals do not, but this isn’t the case 100% of the time.

Another integral element of drug storage is security. Make sure that the doors into the rooms containing the drugs are locked at all times, and that only authorized individuals have access. Security cameras can be incredibly useful in these situations. Keeping harmful drugs safe and secure is a matter of public safety, so please make sure to do your part. Every pharmacy and office should have individual policies in addition to state- and federally-required mandates to follow.

Stock and inventory should be taken regularly, and all files should be maintained either in a locked cabinet, or a secure web server or hard drive. It’s not always pleasant to talk about, but internal theft of drugs can be as big of an issue as external theft. Nobody’s asking you to keep a constant paranoid eye on your fellow employees, but if you see anything that doesn’t make sense or seems strange, don’t be afraid to point it out to someone else.

Do you have any other points regarding safety and pharmaceuticals? Share them with us in the comments. Thanks, and have a pleasant day!

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