Value creation

Medicines: highly sensitive!

Drugs are sensitive goods: they need to be stored and transported at specific temperatures and require extremely careful handling. Many PHOENIX employees, from warehouse workers to pharmacists, work hard every day to ensure that drugs reach the patient undamaged.

Medicines can turn into environmentally hazardous waste very quickly: if the packaging is damaged or the expiry date has passed, the product can no longer be sold and must be properly disposed of. Pharmaceutical waste of this kind is expensive and harms the environment. We have made great efforts in the past few years to reduce this type of waste.

For example, we are raising awareness among employees by carrying out training and implementing employee ideas, such as how we can reduce the amount of damaged packaging.

Although the measures differ from country to country, all companies follow the legal provisions and good distribution practice (GDP) guidelines for drugs. We talked to PHOENIX employees at various stages along the supply chain in Serbia about how they handle drugs:

  • 1. In the distribution centre

    "The most important thing when handling goods is to check the serial number and expiry date. We also follow the product instructions. For example, if drugs require refrigeration, we take great care to ensure that they are kept at exactly the right temperature. We also use sturdy transport boxes to protect the packaging, for instance. Fragile products, such as small glass bottles, are covered with a protective film to provide extra cushioning."

    – Arsic Aleksandar, warehouse employee

  • 2. On the go with transmed

    “First, I make sure that the vehicle is set to the right temperature for transporting pharmaceutical products. There are also checks for the loading process. It is really important to create the correct conditions when transporting drugs so that there is no loss of quality due to damage or temperature changes. Of course, every courier receives training on good distribution practice and work processes. And in the distribution centre, there are signs showing precise instructions for handling the goods.”

    – Ivan Topalovic, transmed worker (courier)

  • 3. In the pharmacy

    “As pharmacists, we receive all the delivered medicines, add them to our stock, and check them. We look at the serial number, expiry date, and any damage and make sure all the necessary details are printed on the packaging. Good IT software is indispensable so we can get an overview of our stock. We have a lot of training – on pharmaceutical knowledge, new products, and good distribution practice, for example."

    – Olja Blagojevic, Pharmacist

  • 4. At home

    Tips for storing drugs

    • Store drugs in their original packaging if possible
    • Observe the instructions on the packaging – for example, the storage temperature
    • Never expose drugs to excessive heat or direct sunlight and, if possible, do not store in the bathroom
    • Drugs that need to be kept in the refrigerator should not be frozen
    • Keep drugs out of the reach of children
    • What should I do with old medicines? In Europe, there are different disposal regulations for each country or region. Contact the relevant authorities or visit their Internet sites for more information. Under no circumstances should old medicines be disposed of in the toilet or sink, as releasing them into waste water is highly detrimental to the environment.