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How Do You Courier Medicine?

Urgent. Lifesaving. Vital. Though you might be more used to associating courier companies with things like moving documents or shifting pallets, it might come as a surprise that courier companies also work with hospitals, GP’s and clinics to serve the vital purpose of couriering medical supplies. Whether we’re moving supplies for a laboratory or instrumental in the movement of lifesaving vaccines, here at Speedy Freight we’ve been part of some truly amazing consignments.  Our work has seen us move testing kits, scientific equipment and even blood and organs for donation – and in 2021, Speedy helped in the fight against COVID-19 by transporting vital ingredients and equipment to support the Covid vaccines for roll out. 


So, how do you courier medicine in the UK? With complex transportation requirements and a need for a carefully-calibrated environment, medicine often has a specific set of needs to be fulfilled by the medical courier in charge of transporting it.  In this guide from Speedy Freight, we walk you through how to send medicine by courier in the UK – including some behind-the-scenes of how we do it! Let’s get started. 


How do you find a medical courier? 

Finding a medical courier is straightforward. Finding a reliable medical courier that you trust can be a little more difficult. So, what are the key steps to finding a good medical courier service that is able to transport medical supplies, biological samples or equipment safely and securely?


Experience is a must, when it comes to such important and often high-value consignments. Taking a risk on a new courier service, simply because it’s a lower cost, can end up having a far higher hidden price – so make sure your chosen medical courier knows what they’re doing!

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Choosing a courier service which is able to supply temperature-calibrated vehicles can be a must for many consignments. Often, consignments in the medical and scientific sector must be transported in a carefully-calibrated environment, which can refer to things like packaging, insulation, and cooling (more on that in a moment). It’s also vital to ensure that any courier service you choose for moving medicines is reliable and efficient – things you can check by looking at an independent review service like Trustpilot, where reviews are left by real customers and cannot be removed by the company. 


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How are medicines transported by courier? 

Transporting medicines by courier is a complex task – but one that our teams here at Speedy Freight have experience in undertaking. Thanks to our temperature-calibrated vehicles, our teams are able to move items in a normal room temperature range, a commercial fridge and freezer temperature range (fridges are commonly between 1.7 to 3.3°C, and freezers can get down to -18°C) , and finally down to temperatures of between -18 and -22 degrees Celsius. 


Speedy Freight also has both single and dual compartment vehicles available: dual compartment vehicles of course allowing for the transportation of different produce at different temperatures in one van. 


Speedy Freight also advocates the use of Woolcool, when it comes to moving temperature-controlled medicines, as a temperature controlled vehicle is not required when using Woolcool liners and boxes.


Woolcool, or The Wool Packaging Company Ltd based in the UK, is a multi-awarding pioneer of sustainable insulated packaging solutions. An R&D led company, Woolcool’s award-winning insulation came about due to the fact that man-made insulated packaging materials are both unsustainable and unreliable. Woolcool insulation has been proven time and again to be more efficient than man-made alternatives, exceeding the the global Good Distribution Practice (GDP) standards required for subsequent FDA and MHRA approval. Their patented technology has now been rapidly adopted by the International Pharmaceutical Industry, and Speedy Freight is proud to support such innovative developments in the medical courier sector. 

What are the main challenges of couriering medicine? 

With complex storage and degeneration considerations, compliance is vital. The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report in 2005 which highlighted the shocking statistic that 50% of medicine transported by courier had either deteriorated or was unusable by the time it got to the end destination due to packaging failure. 

Of course, unlike the spoiling of other perishable materials like food or floral arrangements, this waste could cost the client in more ways than one –  which is why Speedy Freight is dedicated to couriering medicine safely, efficiently and in complete compliance with scientific guidelines.



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