What goes into security solutions in pharma?
Source: Prasanth Aby Thomas, Consultant Editor
Depending on the nature of their products and the process they follow, each company is different with various requirements requiring various solutions. At a high level, the following components should be considered as part of integrated security, fire and life safety solution.
Integrated access control and video solutions
The most important component is electronic access controls
integrated with intrusion detection and IP-based video solutions with remote viewing capabilities.
According to Rick Tampier, Senior Director of Enterprise Sales and Product Strategy for Red Hawk Fire & Security at ADT Commercial
successfully combining the three technologies allows companies to institute a dual authentication system where a valid access control card would need to be presented along with entering a code to arm or disarm the intrusion system.
When violations occur
, the IP-based video system would allow for remote look-in to verify the situation. The access control system can also send an alarm when a door is forced or propped open.
Critical conditions monitoring
This is also a vital function, as even the slightest deviation in temperature could cause potentially life-threatening situations should drugs or drug components be adversely affected. This inventory represents millions of dollars that could represent significant losses to the company should there be a problem. These need to be solutions that go beyond a simple alarm.
For instance, Tampier pointed out that ADT Commercial uses monitoring agents that are designed to receive an alarm when drug cabinets or safes are out of allowable temperature range and they also monitor door status, power, and any possible refrigerant leaks.
Air interchange solutions
In some cases, the FDA requires some facilities to adhere to its air interchange requirements. Air interlocking solutions are suitable in these situations.
This solution uses multiple doors entering the “clean environment.” The design includes a timed interlock whereby staff members can only open one door at a time and with each entry, trigger a fan to circulate and clean the air of impurities in each area. This is done in two and three-door intervals.
Tampier suggests that several different fire suppression alternatives are available depending upon the application including wet, dry, pre-action and deluge pipe sprinkler systems. Gas, foam and water mist suppression systems are also an option as well as Very Early Warning Smoke detection, optical flame detection, and water-based or clean agent fire suppression systems.
“Clean agent fire suppression systems are appropriate for areas with sensitive equipment also occupied by people such as drug laboratories, computer rooms, and process control areas,” Tampier said. “Clean Agent fluids look like water but do not cause the type of damage usually associated with water when extinguishing a fire.”
Mass notification systems
Notification and evacuation systems work to help alert building occupants in the event of emergencies such as natural disasters, fires, and accidents in addition to threats or acts of violence. Our mass notification solutions can immediately inform large groups in the event of such emergencies helping accelerate emergency response and potentially saving lives.
Solutions in retail pharmacies
Retail pharmacy locations require many of the same fire, life safety, and security technologies a branch banking facility might need, including intrusion control systems with door contacts and motion sensor, wired or wireless hold-up or duress alarm buttons, IP cameras located inside and outside the facility, Pneumatic drive-up systems with two-way audio/video, bullet-resistant glass/windows, and Pharmacy drawer/window.
Solutions to secure vaults and distributions centers
Protection of pharmaceutical vaults and distribution centers is a major concern according to Paul Baratta, Manager of Business Development for Healthcare Segment in the US at Axis Communications
. These areas should be treated at the highest level of security concern.
“Often these centers are holding multi-million-dollar inventories and experimental drugs,” Baratta said. “Developing a security program that starts from the perimeter to the actual vault is paramount to securing the staff and products. Beginning on the outer most perimeter, high fencing and barriers buried to avoid intrusion through digging, thermal as well as visual cameras, audio horns, and radar is all standards to protect perimeters.”
There are several access controls features that are often added to the system to help document who enters the premises and when. Implementing a video surveillance system on the exterior of the buildings and premises allows the identification of people and vehicles in or around pharmaceutical vaults.
The use of analytics to determine people loitering near fence lines or climbing over barriers with the intent to enter the premises should be a standard. Furthermore, intrusion alarms and extensive video coverage for all movements of products through and in the distribution centers should be installed. The system can be set up to trigger an alarm that notifies the security personnel or -- if needed -- even armed police.