Safe storage of medications

Hospitals and health service organisations must implement processes and systems that ensure the safe and efficient storage and distribution of medicines, and that minimise wastage of these products. The priority is to ensure that the product integrity is maintained.

Medications must be stored according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, and monitored appropriately. In the event where storage conditions fall outside of the recommended range as specified by the manufacturer, the integrity and quality of the medication may become affected.

The majority of medications only require storage at room temperature, which is typically below 25° C.

Some other medications require refrigeration to ensure their viability and quality. These temperature-sensitive products include pharmaceuticals, clinical trial medicines and vaccines which require storage between +2° C and +8° C.  The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that special refrigeration storage conditions are checked and monitored regularly, and that appropriate date is recorded for refrigerated medications to ensure storage conditions are both preserved and within the allowable limits.

WA Health Safe Use of Medication Refrigerators Policy

This policy applies to all refrigerators used for the storage of temperature-sensitive medicines within WA Health. It provides the minimum requirements to ensure storage conditions are maintained and monitored, and details the management of cold chain and any associated breaches.

This policy is aligned with the requirements of NSQHS Standard 4.10.3 and meets recommendations outlined in the National Vaccine Storage Guidelines – Strive for 5.

More information

Quality Improvement and Change Management Unit
Address: 189 Royal Street, East Perth
Phone: 9222 4080
Email: qicm@health.wa.gov.au

Produced by

Quality Improvement and Change Management Unit