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bosstonez604

Sending insulin in the mail(Can/US)

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Hey guys, I have a question about shipping insulin that I haven't really been able to find much info on.

 

Does anyone have any info about shipping insulin in the mail, possibly from Canada to the US? My next step would be to contact Can Post and USPS, but it's Friday night and I doubt anyone is there to answer.

 

The reason I ask is I have a few extra boxes of Lantus that I'd be happy to send to a friend who doesn't have insurance as comprehensive as mine, and give them a bit of a break($125 out of pocket for pen fills - yikes).

 

So if anyone has any experience, please share, so I could have some idea of what to expect if I were to go that route.

 

Gracias

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Hey guys, I have a question about shipping insulin that I haven't really been able to find much info on.

 

Does anyone have any info about shipping insulin in the mail, possibly from Canada to the US? My next step would be to contact Can Post and USPS, but it's Friday night and I doubt anyone is there to answer.

 

The reason I ask is I have a few extra boxes of Lantus that I'd be happy to send to a friend who doesn't have insurance as comprehensive as mine, and give them a bit of a break($125 out of pocket for pen fills - yikes).

 

So if anyone has any experience, please share, so I could have some idea of what to expect if I were to go that route.

 

Gracias

 

My insulin is shipped to me from my mail order pharmacy, and from what I see that they do, you might need to think about the cost of the shipping. The insulin that I get is packaged in a small styrofoam cooler with ice packs in the cooler to keep the insulin cold. They don't use the blue ice packs, they use water ice packs.(you could probably just fill a zip lock bag with ice cubes and use that.) They package the cooler in a cardboard box and ship it overnight express. To ship a package overnight express from Canada to the US isn't going to be cheap, so you might want to see what the package would weigh with the pens, styrofoam cooler and ice packs, then check to see what the shipping costs would be.

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Yes, since the insulin must be kept chilled, you need to ship it over night express to prevent the ice from melting too much. The reason they don't use those blue ice packs is because if you freeze them, they are much colder than ice and they would freeze the insulin, whereas if you just use zip lock bags with ice cubes in them, the coldest temperature that the insulin could get would be above freezing.(If you put ice cubes in a glass of water, the water doesn't freeze, the ice cubes melt, so the ice cubes can never make a liquid freeze.)

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I just started getting my insulin via mail order.

 

They shipped it next day ground (From AZ to middle IL), put it in a styrofoam "cooler" type box with 3 ice packs (frozen water type) next to the Lantus.. (Lantus in a zip loc bag, so the moisture from ice packs does not get on packaging.). Then the styrofoam box is slipped inside of a regular cardboard box the the labels, etc.

 

They did this the same way with a package of 5 Novolog pens. The pack of 5 pens in the normal packaging that you get from pharmacy... inside ziplock bag. That + 3 frozen ice pack inside styrofoam box. That inside shipping cardboard box.

 

I had been worried that the frozen gel packs right next to the insulin made it "non-vaible" (ie, kept outside of the safe storage temps. 36 degrees Fahrenheit to 46 degrees). Then my sis-in-law who is nurse, said that they store the hospital pens in freezer.

 

I still kind of question that, because the manufacturers info says to NOT freeze Lantus (or Novolog). And to pitch if the insulin has been frozen. Maybe the hospital freezer is set at 36 degrees??

 

So it might be tricky to keep it at the right temp if you don't have styrofoam container to ship it. (it's a pretty thick styrofoam container.)

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Yes, since the insulin must be kept chilled, you need to ship it over night express to prevent the ice from melting too much. The reason they don't use those blue ice packs is because if you freeze them, they are much colder than ice and they would freeze the insulin, whereas if you just use zip lock bags with ice cubes in them, the coldest temperature that the insulin could get would be above freezing.(If you put ice cubes in a glass of water, the water doesn't freeze, the ice cubes melt, so the ice cubes can never make a liquid freeze.)

 

Thank you Hammer!

 

I just checked my ice packs from both insulin shipments. It says "Glacier Ice, Gel Refrigerant". But I believe they are more water based. It says it is water soluble solution. (I had thought they were same as blue gel based.) However, they are "clear" & I know the parts that had started melting went straight to liquid & was not "gel sqwishy".

 

I had really been worried about the Novo being frozen. I mean.. how would one tell if it got frozen? Its clear & does not start off with an airbubble it in. Your explanation of the ice melting in water & not being able to freeze liquid makes sense. (As long as they freeze their ice packs right at 32degrees.) I mean, if ice is frozen at say 2 degrees & you put large ice 2 degree cube in a cup with only 2 tbsps of water.. wouldn't the water freeze in that case?

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Then my sis-in-law who is nurse, said that they store the hospital pens in freezer...Maybe the hospital freezer is set at 36 degrees?

 

That's interesting. I think I'm going to stick the Lantus pen I'm using now into the freezer for a few hours, see if I can see any physical difference in it when it thaws. I think I remember something about water purging other liquids from it when it freezes. I'll get back to everyone on that later tonight.

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Please don't ruin your insulin just for a test! ( I take it, you've got enough extra incase it does "go bad"??) Although, I am VERY curious to hear the results. :)

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Please don't ruin your insulin just for a test! ( I take it, you've got enough extra in case it does "go bad"??)

 

I'm good. This is an important test. Nowhere on the internet does it state if a visible change takes place if Lantus becomes frozen at any point during its journey from "Das Vaterland". I'm takin' one for the team. ;)

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I'd question the legalities before doing this bosstonez.

 

It could be interpreted as fraud if you have claimed the costs on your insurance

 

Australian customs scan packages & those that contain meds bought on a government pharmaceutical benefit scheme are refered to the Federal Police for fraud investigation.

 

Ask yourself , if you are ripping off the Canadian people either through government subsidies or high insurance costs

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After 3 hours in the freezer at (0ºF / -17.8ºC) and then letting the pen warm back up to room temperature...there was no visible change in the insulin's clarity. It was visibly clear right from the freezer...which makes me wonder about this statement from the Lantus website. "Do not allow Lantus® to freeze. Do not put it in a freezer or next to a freezer pack. If you see frost or ice crystals in your Lantus® solution, throw it away."

 

I guess I could do a test drive in dry ice -109.3°F / -78.5°C but I doubt anyone's freezer gets that cold.

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I've wondered if the actual freezing point of Lantus is much lower than the suggested 36ºF. That they don't want to say how low the freeze point is.

 

But, If I'm supposed to see frost or ice crystals if it froze, then mine should be okay.. because all i could see was the clear vial. I guess you could see that there was liquid in it, but there was no airbubble to see move around. (ie, if air bubble wouldn't move, I'd know it was frozen.)

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I've wondered if the actual freezing point of Lantus is much lower than the suggested 36ºF. That they don't want to say how low the freeze point is.

 

But, If I'm supposed to see frost or ice crystals if it froze, then mine should be okay.. because all i could see was the clear vial. I guess you could see that there was liquid in it, but there was no airbubble to see move around. (ie, if air bubble wouldn't move, I'd know it was frozen.)

 

I took the point of "do not freeze" to mean that freezing could cause crystallization and maybe a separation of the ingredients...to the point that the insulin may not be viable after that happened. What I didn't consider is that the crystallization that's mentioned may be caused by something else. I know if I let honey sit long enough the sugars separate and form crystals at the bottom of the container. I was hoping that freezing the insulin would produce a visible difference, this way if it were frozen before I got it...it would be evident.

 

It would be nice if the insulin manufactures sold a test solution that you could use to test your insulin's present percentage of viability. Something on the order of a glucose meter/test strip "control solution".

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It would be nice if the insulin manufactures sold a test solution that you could use to test your insulin's present percentage of viability. Something on the order of a glucose meter/test strip "control solution".

 

I agree... or maybe have something in it that changes color once it hits a certain temp . ie 26 degrees changes to blue... 96 degrees changes to grey..

But then, they would have to do nanotechnology testing to see if it had health risks... with the chem... and if people still took the insulin after it changed color.. etc.

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Thank you Hammer!

 

I just checked my ice packs from both insulin shipments. It says "Glacier Ice, Gel Refrigerant". But I believe they are more water based. It says it is water soluble solution. (I had thought they were same as blue gel based.) However, they are "clear" & I know the parts that had started melting went straight to liquid & was not "gel sqwishy".

 

I had really been worried about the Novo being frozen. I mean.. how would one tell if it got frozen? Its clear & does not start off with an airbubble it in. Your explanation of the ice melting in water & not being able to freeze liquid makes sense. (As long as they freeze their ice packs right at 32degrees.) I mean, if ice is frozen at say 2 degrees & you put large ice 2 degree cube in a cup with only 2 tbsps of water.. wouldn't the water freeze in that case?

 

According to the Glacier Ice, Gel Refrigerant website, depending on which gel you have, it can go as low as -5 degrees for one type, and -30 degrees for the other type, so I'd be wary of using those packs.

 

As for ice, well, you can have 32 degree water and 32 degree ice. The difference is that the ice had to give up an additional 75 BTU to change state...from water to a solid.(ice) Once the water has changed from a liquid to a solid, the ice can not go any lower in temperature. If you placed water in a deep freezer that went down to -20 degrees F, the water would freeze and remain at 32 degrees F because the water has no more heat to give up. Water can only go down to 32 degrees no matter how cold the air around it is. If you were to take a thermometer and stick it inside of an ice cube, it will always read close to, or exactly 32 degrees F. No matter how cold the ice cube was being kept at in a freezer, it will always read only 32 degrees F.

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That's interesting. I think I'm going to stick the Lantus pen I'm using now into the freezer for a few hours, see if I can see any physical difference in it when it thaws. I think I remember something about water purging other liquids from it when it freezes. I'll get back to everyone on that later tonight.

 

I'd have been concerned that if the Lantus froze, it would break the pen and spill into your freezer.

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I'd have been concerned that if the Lantus froze, it would break the pen and spill into your freezer.

 

Only water has an expansion factor in the Lantus formula. Water expands at about 9% when it freezes. Sanofi-Adventis doesn't say how much water is in their formula. I'm of the mind that if it had enough water in it to be a detriment...the rubber plunger would take the brunt of the expansion. Any more than that and I think the seal at the mouth of the vial would pop off. The glass vial is pretty stout.

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. Any more than that and I think the seal at the mouth of the vial would pop off. The glass vial is pretty stout.

 

I don't know about the glass being stout. I've already had the glass shatter while I was giving myself an injection. It just blew apart and the Lantus went everywhere as I started to push down on the plunger, so I had no idea how much Lantus I had injected before it shattered. It has only happened once, so maybe it was a defective pen.

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As for ice, well, you can have 32 degree water and 32 degree ice. The difference is that the ice had to give up an additional 75 BTU to change state...from water to a solid.(ice) Once the water has changed from a liquid to a solid, the ice can not go any lower in temperature.

 

Not true. Pure water turns to ice at 32 degrees. Ice can get down to absolute zero in certain conditions. Do some more research.

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I don't know about the glass being stout. I've already had the glass shatter while I was giving myself an injection. It just blew apart and the Lantus went everywhere as I started to push down on the plunger, so I had no idea how much Lantus I had injected before it shattered. It has only happened once, so maybe it was a defective pen.

 

Absolutely. No one would design a pen that was susceptible to shattering under a simple rubber plunger sliding along its surface. The Germans make Lantus. You know how picky them guys are when it comes to quality.

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Absolutely. No one would design a pen that was susceptible to shattering under a simple rubber plunger sliding along its surface. The Germans make Lantus. You know how picky them guys are when it comes to quality.

 

It was a brand new pen, so I hadn't used it yet. That's what made me think that it was a defective pen...or that maybe the pen had sustained a fracture in the glass during shipping and when I pushed on the plunger, it made the fracture expand and break the glass.(Is it glass? I think it's plastic.)

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It's a glass vial encased in a plastic structure. Insulin isn't stored in plastic. Had the pen had a traumatic event in shipping I think you would have noticed it by the condition of the box. That Lantus vials are not tempered glass the possibility exists that damage could have occurred in assembly and gotten past quality control. I've never heard of what you say happening. Not that it couldn't...but the likelihood of it being more than just a chance encounter...the odds are like astronomical.

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Again , thank you so much Hammer... I appreciate the science lessons. THey help me understand some things much better than my science teacher ever did!.

 

As far as not using the "Glacier Ice" packs... well, I cannot dictate to the OptumRX people what ice packs to use to ship my insulin, can I?

 

Oh.. but I just looked them up... The brand that I see with my shipments are here: Pelton Shepherd Home of The Original Blue Ice, Ecogel, Johnny Plastic Ice and Frozen Shipping Accessories

It says they are +30°F formulation.

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Can insulin be shipped in dry ice?

 

NO it will freeze, however this is the time of the season to order before it gets to hot. Some years back I ordered some at 20 bucks a bottle and it was exactly the same as here, same company even. Now at CVS the last time I checked it cost $57 a vial, WHY. You can get 20 vials in Canada for $200. well over a years supply.

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