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Transport Medicine

How to Transport Medicine the Right Way

Transporting medicine via freight requires a meticulous approach to maintain product integrity, comply with regulations, and meet the healthcare industry's stringent standards.

Transport Medicine


Physical health and safety have been at the forefront of everyone’s minds due to COVID-19. With that comes the increasing demand for people buying medicines, supplements, vitamins, and the pharmaceutical supply chain needs to meet that demand.

We’ve put together a few best practices on how to transport medicine the right way.


Transport Medicine Safely By Following Shipping Rules

Of course, larger governing bodies like the FDA and DEA have rules and regulations when shipping medicines. It is the shipper’s responsibility to abide by federal and state regulations when shipping medications. Ensure you stay proactive and comply with any rules impacting your medicinal shipments.

Be aware of the procedures for shipping hazardous materials too. While this freight classification usually covers most fuels and bio-chemicals, it can extend to pharmaceuticals.

Again, stay proactive in understanding the rules and regulations involved in transporting medicine. Reaching out to your logistics partner and expert for information about shipping this type of cargo can help ensure a seamless process.

Choosing the Right Shipping Method

When transporting medicine, it needs to be shipped in temperature-controlled freight trailers. In the world of freight shipping, that means booking your pharmaceutical shipments via full truckload (TL) shipping. TL provides the shipping services you need, such as refrigerated freight and expedited freight transits via reefer trailers.

Also, safety is the top requirement when transporting medicine. With truckload, you have a whole freight trailer dedicated to your shipment only. No other shipments share the truck, and no stops are made to pick up or delivery other shipments.

Additionally, there’s less handling involved with your shipment, helping the medicine you ship arrive where it needs to be on time and without loss or damage.

Read our recent blog for more tips on shipping temperature-controlled items that dive deeper into best shipping practices and offer additional guidance for finding the best carriers to meet your needs.

Packaging Is Key

Because medicines and other pharmaceuticals require special shipping services, it’s essential to ensure you properly package your shipments before pick up. This helps ensure all best practices are met, including any additional requirements of your shipment.

For example, for fragile, perishable medications like injectables or liquids in glass vials, you may need bubble wrap, foam insulation, and gel packs to ensure your medications are safe within the packaging.

Learn more about freight packaging by downloading our free Guide to Freight Packaging.

Partner with the Right Provider to Transport Medicine

It’s essential you partner with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) that has the experience and knowledge in the pharmaceutical shipping field.

We can help you find the solutions you need, including the best carriers, temperature-controlled and expedited shipping services, and a powerful TMS to help you track your shipment.

Even during these challenging times, we are here to serve the needs of freight shippers everywhere. Regarding maneuvering around the COVID-19 challenges, FreightCenter has the resources and tools you need to keep your supply chain resources and tools you need to keep your supply chain keep running.

Start by getting a free online quote today or call 800.716.7608 and talk to one of our shipping experts.

Cost to Ship Medicine

Given the importance of transporting medicines safely and reliably, the costs associated with shipping pharmaceuticals via freight reflect the specialized nature of the service and the need to meet stringent quality and regulatory requirements.

Pharmaceutical companies and logistics partners work together to balance cost and ensure the secure and efficient delivery of vital medications.

Shipping Medicine FAQ


Q. Are there any restrictions on shipping certain types of medicine via freight?

A. Yes, there are restrictions on shipping certain types of medicine, particularly those classified as hazardous materials, controlled substances, or temperature-sensitive drugs. Compliance with transportation regulations, including the International Air Transport Association (IATA) guidelines for shipping dangerous goods, is essential.


Q. Are medicine shipments insured during freight shipping?

A. Most reputable freight carriers provide basic liability coverage for shipments. However, this coverage may not be sufficient for high-value medicine shipments. Consider inquiring about additional freight insurance options to adequately protect your shipment.


Q. How do you ship medicine?

A. When shipping medicine, it’s best to use a discreet, non-transparent package like a plain brown bag. Only include the patient’s name and address on the outside to ensure privacy. Concealing the medication from view is important during delivery. Using a courier service for medication delivery is a common practice.


Q. Are there any special packaging requirements for shipping medicine via freight?

A. Yes, there are special packaging requirements for shipping medicine to maintain product integrity and protect them during transit. Pharmaceutical shipments often require temperature-controlled packaging, tamper-evident seals, and protective cushioning to prevent damage.


Q. What types of medicine can be shipped via freight?

A. Non-prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and some prescription medications can be shipped via freight. However, certain medications, especially those considered controlled substances or temperature-sensitive drugs, may have stricter shipping regulations and restrictions.

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