2021 Trends In Pharmaceutical Packaging

In 2020, all eyes were on the pharmaceutical industry as the race for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments began. With vaccines now being rolled out all over the globe, it’s time to look to the future and what 2021 could bring. 

The pharmaceutical packaging industry has been experiencing substantial growth for several years, and could exceed £84 billion by 2024 . Thanks to new innovations and emerging treatments, there is room for further growth in this section of the pharma industry.

So what does this year have in store for pharmaceutical packaging? Take a look at these 2021 trends in pharmaceutical packaging.

Eco-friendly packaging

The world is waking up to the need to go green. With people looking to live more sustainably and cut down on their use of plastics, they’re making more informed choices about the types of products they use. This year, things will be set to continue along this path, and could impact the demand for certain types of products.

While other industries are able to adjust their packaging strategies with ease, for the pharmaceutical industry, it’s not so straightforward. With safety always a priority for the industry, a balance needs to be struck to help ensure products can continue to be manufactured and packaged safely, while also taking greener practices into consideration.

PLA packaging (Polylactic Acid) is one of the solutions that could help the pharma industry reduce its emissions, as well as help produce a more sustainable product. It’s combustible, can control the temperature of products in transit, and it also uses 65% less energy during production.

Eco-friendly solutions are set to be a key priority for pharma with new innovations emerging all the time that will please consumers and benefit the environment too.

Using nanotechnology to clamp down on counterfeiting 

The pharma industry is susceptible to issues such as counterfeiting, which has become easier than ever thanks to the internet and online sales. Nanotechnology can ensure nano barcodes act as a ‘track and trace’ system for tablets that will identify where they’ve come from, deterring redistribution to other markets.

Packaging that’s efficient and effective

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new awareness of the need to package and distribute products efficiently. There will be expectations to manufacture and distribute products quicker, right down to the packaging. Packaging companies will be faced with new pressures to develop solutions that will get things moving quicker and rise to demand. 

In some cases, this will be a race against time, but one that still requires pharma packaging companies to deliver solutions which are safe and effective.

Bringing smart technology into packaging

How can smart technology be incorporated into pharmaceutical packaging? That’s one of the questions companies look set to answer this year. Various types of smart technology, including Bluetooth, NFC and QR codes could transform areas of the industry by helping to manage stock and demand levels, while there could even be smart temperature tracking that will help eliminate the use of spoiled or unsafe products. Smarter technology brings several solutions that can mitigate some of the risks that come with transport and supply, ensuring better value and improved safety.

Accessible packaging

Accessible product packaging is essential for many industries, but it’s particularly important for pharma. People need to be able to read and understand correct dosage and usage and should be one of the main considerations of packaging design.

As more and more people look set to move to self-medication (especially for conditions like diabetes and allergies), clear instructions and highlighting of allergens, expirations dates, etc., will be vital. The information needs to be easy to read, and not just a list of ingredients, in order to help users use their medication correctly and safely, and make sure they’re disposing of it correctly too.

The importance of networking

Like the healthcare industry, pharma benefits from the sharing of ideas to help develop new products and make continuous improvements. Networking and collaboration are key for elevating the entire industry. The coronavirus pandemic has already shown the need to share ideas and innovate together, and this looks set to continue across key pharmaceutical conferences in 2021.

2021 is set to be another crucial year for the pharmaceutical industry, with packaging being one of the areas under the spotlight. While there are solutions that are needed to help meet changing priorities and demands, there is also the chance to innovate and bring new ideas and concepts into this fast-growing market.

1