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Nearly 100 cargo stations have been enhanced for pharma cold-chain distribution
IAG Cargo (Heathrow, UK) has been awarded Good Distribution Practices (GDP) certification by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), along with a Wholesale Distribution Authorisation (WDA) for both human and veterinary medicines. The airline, a 2011 merger of British Airways Cargo and Iberia Air Cargo, says it is the first cargo carrier to gain these certifications. The company has been an aggressive pursuer of industry certifications; previously, it was one of the first to get the QEP certification from Envirotainer (supplier of powered unit-load devices [ULDs} for shipping time- and temperature-sensitive pharma products) in its network.
Some 800 of the company’s 2400 employees have been trained in GDP practices, according to Alan Dorling, global head of life sciences for the carrier. GDP standards, roughly comparable in function to GMP standards in pharma manufacturing, have extensive requirements for training, documentation and recordkeeping for pharma distribution. Besides the training, various IAG Cargo stations have storage capacity for cold chain shipments and the ability to recharge passive (non-powered) containers en route.
IAG Cargo offers two types of time- and temperature-sensitive pharma shipping: Constant Climate Active, which employs Envirotainer and CSafe ULDs over the -20 to +20°C range, and Constant Climate Passive, for 2-8° or 15-25°C shipments.