How To Properly Utilize A Freezer For Pharmaceuticals

Medical Grade Freezers

Every medical facility has its own unique needs when it comes to choosing the right freezer unit. Labs may need to store biological samples that need to be kept at a specific temp to prevent decay or degradation; whereas a freezer for pharmaceuticals need to be set to ensure the integrity of medications; small clinics may have simpler needs, such as ice packs for minor injuries. Every facility is different, and therefore having the right freezer can make a huge difference.


Medical and pharmaceutical freezers are tailored to prevent temperature fluctuations that can cause damage to samples, vaccines, and medication. The standard in-home unit is much less reliable, and therefore not appropriate to use in a medical setting. It is imperative that the right equipment is used to ensure optimal temperature is maintained, and nothing is unnecessarily compromised.

How To Use Your Medical Freezer Correctly

A freezer for pharmaceuticals isn’t enough on it’s own. Understanding how to properly utilize the unit is highly important.

  • Proper Placement. Where your unit is placed is just as important as the setting the optimal temperature. Units made with a built in design have ventilation optimized for specific placement, such as under a counter; a free standing unit likewise, is optimized to properly ventilate in an open space. Always be certain that the type of unit you have is designed to be placed where it is to ensure proper ventilation. If this becomes an issue, overheating could occur and compromise the interior temperature.
  • Stocking. A freezer for pharmaceuticals and medical specimens work best when they are properly stocked. An empty freezer will experience greater fluctuations in temperature than one that is stocked up. To avoid this issue, always keep the unit thirty percent stocked, and if that isn’t possible, adding a couple water bottles, or ice packs, can help mitigate this problem, and stabilize temperature. However, just as under stocking is detrimental, so is overstocking. Air must be able to circulate through the unit, and one that is over full will cause a decrease in air flow. This also can lead to uneven temperatures within the interior space. For particularly sensitive items, make sure they stay near the center of the unit, as they will be at a lower risk of exposure to wavering temps.
  • Testing and Monitoring. A freezers for pharmaceuticals will often come equipped with some type of alarm that will sound when the temperature dips close to, or below, the set operating temperature. Most are also designed with a probe hole that allows staff to easily install additional monitoring equipment. If installing your own device, be sure that it sits towards the middle of the unit, just as with the most sensitive material. Too close to the door and the reading may be hindered by someone opening the door, and too far back can cause colder than average readings.


A freezer for pharmaceuticals and medical specimens needs to be properly utilized in order to function accordingly. Making sure it stays stocked, along with ensuring it is kept in the correct location, can help prevent damage to sensitive medications, vaccines, and samples. Referencing your owners manual can help clarify any additional specifics that are unique to your unit make and model. Proper utilization is the best way to make sure all sensitive materials can be stored without risk of unnecessary harm.

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