by Peter Kusnic
November 14, 2019
Big pharma has a PR problem. With leading drug makers such as Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma facing mounting state legal challenges for their role in the US opioid epidemic – and being ordered to pay out large settlements – the industry is working to not only mitigate damage to their reputations, but also comply with increasingly strict regulations that aim to prevent such crises in the future.
These efforts are netting major opportunities for suppliers of the $94 billion global pharmaceutical packaging industry, particularly those using innovation to quell public concerns.
From enhanced dosage-measuring features to smart alerts delivered from a drug package to a user’s smartphone, here are 4 packaging innovations making pharmaceuticals safer and more reliable and secure for consumers worldwide.
While active and intelligent packaging features such as gas scavengers and time-temperature sensors have been around for a long time, smart technology is increasingly being integrated with pharmaceutical packaging to prevent diversion, counterfeiting, and prescription non-adherence. For example:
Smart technology can also be used to promote strict prescription adherence, a particularly important factor in clinical trials. For example:
Outside of clinical settings, the most intensive users of pharmaceuticals – the elderly – may prefer lower-tech solutions to dosage-measuring. For example, unit-dose configurations such as James Alexander’s line of single-use plastic squeeze tubes for topical skin preparations provide for pre-measured dosing that helps prevent mistakes.
A key consideration of drug makers is to ensure packaging complies with FDA definition of child resistance, or packaging that is proven through a certified test to be difficult for children to open but easy for adults to open.
Among recent innovative product introductions that meet these standards are Comar’s DoseGuard system, which consists of a round plastic bottle, an oral dispenser, and a recessed valve bottle adapter designed to provide passive protection against the inadvertent ingestion of liquid medications by children.
However, ease-of-use/delivery is also important to healthcare providers. B. Braun Medical’s DUPLEX dual-compartment flexible plastic IV bag simplifies the intravenous delivery of antibiotics by:
Extending product shelf life – such as through use of active packaging components (e.g., desiccants) or enhanced barrier technologies – is a key focus of pharmaceutical packaging innovation, with a number of products coming to market in recent years that improve on the performance of familiar packaging features. For example:
Specialty oxygen absorbers are also seeing increased use in pharmaceutical packaging designs:
Looking for More?
For more information on these and other relevant industry trends, see Global Pharmaceutical Packaging, a new study from The Freedonia Group. In addition to historical demand data (2008, 2013, and 2018) and forecasts (2023) by product group and global region, the study provides company market share and competitive analysis on key industry participants like Amcor, West Pharmaceutical Services, Becton Dickinson, Gerresheimer, CCL Industries, and more.
Peter Kusnic is a Content Writer with The Freedonia Group, where he researches and writes studies focused on the consumer goods and packaging industries.
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