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4 Key Indicators of Reliability When Selecting a Pharmacy Refrigerator

Posted on Apr 23, 2024 by Chris Storey

Pharmacy Refrigerators from Helmer Scientific

Selecting a pharmacy refrigerator is a critical task that impacts all aspects of the pharmacy, including footprint and physical space, inventory management and protection, cost containment, compliance, and more. Unfortunately, this critical decision is often driven solely by price.

In this blog, we will discuss the importance of reliability when choosing cold storage units for your pharmacy and the top four reliability indicators to consider.

The Importance of Reliability in Pharmacy Refrigeration

Reliability in the context of pharmacy refrigeration can be broken down into two primary categories: performance and durability.

Performance includes the meeting of regulatory standards (i.e. NSF/ANSI 456, USP <797> and <800>), temperature regulation capability (uniformity, stability, and recovery), and monitoring capability. Durability focuses on the ability of a unit to withstand the physical demands of prolonged use.

Since each unit will contain potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory, these categories are critically important when selecting the right refrigerator for your pharmacy. Each can be directly or indirectly tied to the reduction of operational expense and cost containment by helping to meet regulatory requirements, reducing inventory loss, and reducing maintenance and replacement costs.

Four Key Indicators of Reliability

Because there are many options for pharmaceutical refrigeration and reliability plays such a critical role in cost containment in the pharmacy environment, it is important to know how to identify pharmacy refrigeration solutions that are truly reliable.

Four key indicators to consider when searching for a pharmacy refrigerator are:

  1. Brand Reputation
  2. Rigorous Testing
  3. Equipment Longevity
  4. Price

Brand Reputation

Most of the time, brand reputations are earned through long-term consistency with a set of principles or standards. When considering pharmacy refrigeration solutions, consider these questions:

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • What does the market say about this brand’s products?
  • What do my peers say about this brand’s products?
  • How has this reputation been earned?

Brand reputation is about consistency; either the brand is consistently good, consistently bad, or consistently inconsistent. Choose brands that have a solid reputation for being consistently good. 

Rigorous Testing

Just because a refrigerator can reach or keep a consistent temperature does not necessarily mean it can keep up with the grueling demands of 24/7 operation in a busy pharmacy. You should choose a pharmacy refrigerator that has proven it can take a beating and keep going.

With consistent door openings and closings, power surges, HVAC temperature fluctuations, vibrations, blunt force, a pharmacy refrigerator will handle a lot during its service life. Choose a brand that has been purposely engineered and built to withstand the work.

Helmer Scientific performs many tests on the systems, subsystems, and components of all pharmacy solutions products under extreme conditions to simulate the demands of a 10-year service life.

These tests include opening and slamming doors thousands of times, maintaining temperature in extreme heat conditions, operating at ultra-high voltage, withstanding excessive and prolonged vibration, and more, attempting at each phase to push the machine to failure, then fix the failure and push it to the next.

This type of testing, called Accelerated Life Testing, allows Helmer to design and build pharmacy refrigerators that can reliably protect inventory for years.

Equipment Longevity

Most pharmacy refrigerators are rated for a certain service life (typically about 10 years), but not all brands will consistently achieve that level of longevity. When considering a product’s longevity, it’s best to look around at the other pieces of equipment in your pharmacy and ask yourself:

  • How long have these products been around?
  • What level of maintenance have they required?
  • How often have they needed to be replaced?
  • Which products have reliably performed for the longest period of time?

To truly understand longevity, you must understand what is happening in the real world, not just in the manufacturer’s specifications. Ask colleagues, visit other facilities or other departments, and see which products are designed to last for the long haul.


In the world of pharmacy refrigerators, a higher price is generally a sign of a higher level of reliability. This is due to the cost of development and engineering that go into building superior equipment.

Unreliable solutions are generally not able to command high price points, so if you’re looking for something reliable, look for equipment that may have a higher price but also has justification to earn it.

Consider these points:

  • Higher price is generally an indicator of higher performance, longevity, and reliability, which will save money in the long run.
  • Compare the incremental cost of the cold storage unit to the value of the inventory that will be stored inside.
  • Consider the brand’s reputation for quality and service. Remember, the relationship does not end when the purchase is made. Choose a brand with a reputation for high quality of service.

Ultimately, pharmacists are under pressure to choose an affordable option that fits the budget, so it is critical to understand how to communicate the value of reliability in the long term.


At Helmer, we strive to create the most reliable, high performance pharmacy cold storage solutions on the market. Our pharmacy line of GX Solutions refrigerators are engineered to the highest level of performance and durability and can be configured to your specific physical space and requirements.

To learn more about our pharmacy GX Solutions cold storage units, or if you need help justifying the value of Helmer refrigerators to the budget committee, reach out to our sales team; we’ll be happy to help you find, design, or defend the solution your pharmacy needs.

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Chris Storey

Written by Chris Storey

Chris Storey is the segment marketing manager for healthcare applications at Helmer Scientific. He has more than five years of sales & marketing experience. He has in MBA in marketing and analytics.

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