The stability of pharmaceuticals is not only related to their properties but also greatly affected by many external factors, such as temperature, humidity, and microorganisms, subjected to decomposition, volatilization, precipitation, and the like. Therefore, correct and professional storage is crucial for ensuring the quality of pharmaceuticals. Pharmacy refrigerators can provide ideal storage space for the pharmaceuticals and samples highly susceptible to failure at room temperature. The refrigerators are widely used in biomedicine, food inspection, physical chemistry, and other fields and play an indispensable role in such scenarios as hospitals, laboratories, and pharmacies.
Looking back, pharmacy refrigerators have experienced three major stages from origin to development:
Origin phase. As early as the 1930s, when many household refrigerators began to be produced and used in the United States, some biologists found that low temperatures could reduce the metabolism of organisms and extend the lifespan of biological tissues and organisms. Inspired by this, the first pharmacy refrigerator was created in the United States.
Growth phase. From the 1960s to the early 21st century, many countries, including Japan and China, began to independently develop and produce pharmacy refrigerators. As the number of global manufacturers increased rapidly, pharmacy refrigerators popularized significantly. Following this, segmented categories suitable for the storage of different pharmaceuticals and samples began to emerge, and the industry showed a trend of prosperity and growth.
Maturity phase. Since the 20th century, the pharmacy refrigerator industry has become increasingly mature, with greatly enriched product varieties. As the development of science and technology, the Internet, and the medical industry booms, the core technologies such as refrigeration and temperature control have reached an unprecedented new height.
In recent years, the global pharmacy refrigerator market has maintained steady growth, with the annual compound growth rate of total sales from 2016 to 2019 exceeding 20%. Since 2020, under the stimulus of COVID-19, increasing attention to the vaccine cold chain has accelerated the release of the demands for pharmacy refrigerators, bringing medium – and long-term growth space to the medical refrigerator industry.
However, problems also have emerged behind the favorable development prospects. For example, although pharmacy refrigerators have been widely used in developed areas, serving as right-hand assistants in hospitals, scientific research institutes, and other institutions, in undeveloped areas, such as Africa, there is still a phenomenon of using household refrigerators in replacement of pharmacy refrigerators. In such undeveloped areas, the quality of the pharmaceuticals, samples, and reagents are affected easily due to the unguaranteed temperature uniformity and stability. For example, some pharmacy refrigerators are still using fluorinated refrigerants, which harm the ecological environment, so improving temperature control accuracy and reducing energy consumption have become problems that require continued exploration by the enterprises in the industry.
As the leading global manufacturer and provider of complete cold chain solutions, Haier Biomedical always seizes the market initiative and the development opportunities bringing progress for medical and health undertakings in emerging markets to provide pharmaceutical safety products and services to the world and our key partners and stakeholders in particular.
For now, Haier Biomedical’s pharmacy refrigerators all use environmentally friendly and pollution-free hydrocarbon refrigerants. Taking HYC-509R as an example, the refrigerator is designed with 6 high-precision sensors and a microprocessor to provide a 2℃- 8℃ secure storage environment for pharmaceuticals. With the inner temperature control accuracy maintained at 0.1℃, the product can keep the temperature constant even if its door is opened and closed frequently. Also, the product has very low energy consumption.
The HYC-509R pharmacy refrigerator is also designed with strict permission management and process monitoring control. Based on the electromagnetic lock and the NFC permission management system, it can record the access of staff, as well as the time of access and the items accessed, in real-time. Its HD LCD touch screen displays the storage records, inventory status, and temperature data simultaneously, enabling interactive and visual management.
Based on RFID technology, The HYC-509R pharmacy refrigerator can conduct inventory checking automatically, which not only saves users time but also ensures information accuracy, ensuring intelligent real-time tracking and centralized control of the pharmaceuticals throughout the full life cycle. The product also comes with an automatic defrosting function to avoid spoilage caused by freezing, as well as sound and light alarm functions, such as equipment abnormal operation alarm, temperature abnormality alarm, and automatic early warning of the expiry date, to make users worry-free.
Haier Biomedical has also applied the Internet of Things technology (IoT) to the research and development of pharmacy refrigerator products, striving to achieve the interaction of human, machine, and pharmaceuticals and the intelligent and information management of data. Haier Biomedical’s temperature recorder performs temperature management tasks automatically, supports long-term storage and query, and supports data export via cloud and USB.