Shipping insulin across country

Hi everyone,
Has anybody here ever had to ship their insulin across the country because of a move and if so, how did you go about it? I need to ship about 10 vials of Humalog this summer and I am really worried about losing it. It has taken me a while just to stockpile what I have. Any suggestions?

Why don’t you put it in a cooler and get a dispensation to carry it on the plane? Or Frio it?

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I am going to be camping in some really hot areas for about 10 days. I am not completely ruling out a cooler but if there is a better way I would prefer not to have to do that.

This is the packaging used by my mail-order pharmacy to ship my insulin to me every 90 days. It has plenty of room to hold 10 vials of insulin. It’s a cardboard box with outside dimensions measuring 11.5" wide by 9.5" deep by 11.5" tall. The box holds a styrofoam container with a lid and a heavy foil bag on the inside that contains two gel freezer packs. The insulin is placed in a zip-lock bag(s) in between the frozen gel packs.

It is shipped by UPS next day air. When it arrives, the gel packs are still partially frozen. It seems like a bit of overkill to me but I’ve never received any damaged insulin (thermally or otherwise) with this method.

Do you have someone on the receiving end that can unpackage and place the insulin in a refrigerator upon arrival? If so, make sure they don’t place the insulin in the freezer! The freezer-gel packs may give them the wrong idea.

Here are some photos:

If you know anyone in your local area that receives their insulin via mail-order you may be able to reuse their packaging materials.


That is a great idea. I don’t know anyone in my city that gets their insulin shipped but I bet my endocrinologist’s office gets these on a regular basis. I could ask them to hold on to one. Thanks for the idea.

I’m not the only one to receive insulin this way. If you could contact a local diabetes support group or even put out an appeal to members here that may live in your city. I’m in Portland, Oregon.

I suspect that endocrinologists get most of their sample insulin via hand delivery from a pharma salesperson. You could also ask your local drug-store pharmacist.

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That is the very same package that our Honey Baked Ham came to our house a few Easter’s ago. And it sat outside the front door for a few hours with no problem at all. Temperature was perfect when we opened it. Anything that needs to be kept cool should be fine shipped this way! And yes the ham was wonderful!

I remember once the Omaha steaks went to the apartment office on Friday cause I wasn’t home. You can guess the rest.

I had pneumonia and they shipping IV drugs to me Terry4’s way. There was never a problem. Good suggestion.

My insulin is shipped to me across Canada. I’ve never received it in one of those styrofoam coolers, but each box of insulin is always shipper in it’s own thermal bubble wrap envelope with two frozen gel packs, and then each envelope is placed inside of a box, with a label that says “temperature sensitive medical supplies” on it. My insulin has never been frozen solid or warm on arrival, so if you don’t have access to one of @Terry4 's coolers, this method works well too. The only issue is that you wouldn’t want the insulin to stay in the package like this for more than 4 days or so (probably less if you live in the south of the USA).

Here is what it looks like:

The envelopes are available at my local post office to purchase, so maybe the would be at yours too if you don’t end up finding anyone who can give you a styrofoam cooler :slight_smile:

I would ship it on a Monday so the package doesn’t get help up in some non-temperature controlled storage facility over the weekend.

My insulin is shipped as well, in a Styrofoam box with the feeder pack. Usually active the next day by UPS and the backs are still frozen when I unpack.

This sounds like a potentially good solution. The only part I wonder about is the duration; 10 days seems like a long time. Most of the examples above (steaks, insulin, ham) weren’t stored for nearly that long, unless I’m misinterpreting.

I’m just wondering, do you really need 10 vials for 10 days? Will you be backpacking, or have access to cool water?

My reading of @tonyg’s situation is that he’s looking for a method to get his insulin safely across country instead of keeping it with him in a cooler during his move and visit to a hot camping location for ten days.

Terry is correct. I will be moving across the country this summer. During the move, we have a vacation planned and are going to camp out a bunch along the way. So I want to ship my insulin to where we are moving so that I don’t risk losing it all because a cooler got left open or we run out of ice, or some other unforeseen problem that could easily happen when you are camping out for 10 days with a family. I have a reliable person on the other end that can immediately refrigerate it, so the only problem I am trying to solve is getting it to them. There have been some good suggestions, just wanted to clear up the confusion about why I am doing this.

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then I’d send it next day delivery to the responsible person, packed as Terry described. You might even consider sending it in 2 batches. I’d insure it well too.

My insulin has been shipped to me every 90 days for years in the boxes or bubble bags already described. Never a problem. For travel in hot climates or camping I use Frio bags for the insulin I have with me. All they need is water to activate and keep the vials cool enough. They come in a variety of bag sizes for one to several vials or pens. Very clever design.

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The Frio is truly one of the world’s great inventions. :smiley:

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Hi, Terry! I also live in Portland and am needing to ship some insulin. Do you happen to have one of these insulated boxes around that you would be willing to sell to me?

I did keep one on hand in case I needed to store my insulin for travel or an extended power outage. I’d be happy to give it to you. I receive these four times/year and it seems like such a waste to throw it away. I’ll send you a private message.