Pharmaceutical packaging was always viewed as the ‘odd one out’ when it came to any major pharmaceutical business, but when the evergreen issue of child-resistant packaging closures required legislation by regulatory organisations in Europe this became the stimulus for driving ideas and a melting pot of actions around pharmaceutical packaging. The child resistant blister pack boxes, to branding a child resistant PP28 closure, the element of the pharmaceutical supply chain which was regarding as the laggard as now become the innovator.
Drug delivery and drug access prevention have grown in stature, in line with the growing legislation, red tape, files on one side of the coin, reciprocating that are the ever growing challenges of security issues and traceability. There is an obvious positive correlation with new innovations and creative ideas in pharmaceutical packaging, when new generation drugs were being developed such as the ‘copycat’ drugs (biosimilar) or complex drug developments that come with the category, biologics. These types of drugs excelled in establishing a new way of being delivered to the end user, and with such advanced technologies that create the opportunity to develop new ideas to administer. The plastic bottle will always be a mainstay in the pharmaceutical packaging remit, but it will be apparent that end users and consumers would have come into contact of new packaging formation and methods of delivery.
The constructive argument of the glass vs plastic continues to rock, back and forth in the choppy packaging seas, the glass experts driving their benefits to the masses of stakeholders, with the plastic team reciprocating the same ideals around plastic pharmaceutical packaging.The nucleus to the argument is the quality of the drug, for example the ingredients of drugs are not reacting to the primary packaging surface, and the silicon elements that are within glass are not creating an adverse effect with the variety of drugs that are being manufactured.
Advocates of glass explain that using plastic can have a negative impression on perceived value of the product within the packaging and claim that plastic can leach out into the product, whereas type 1 pharmaceutical glass will not manipulate a drug change in any way, shape or form.
Meanwhile, there is a relationship in the trend that is developing a plastic solution. There are a number of faults with the production of glass within pharmaceutical packaging, the finished product is not as reliable as plastic.
Engaging in the topic of self-administration, due to the developments in technologies intertwining with innovation drug dispensing at home has become a thing of normality for end-users. However, consumption of drugs that would, on a general ideology would be delivered in a clinical environment because it would need full accuracy is now eradicated because pharmaceutical packaging and devices are designed to give exact measurements of drugs. Experts within the pharmaceutical packaging circles have increasingly highlighted the need for clear instructions to support the newly innovative designed dispensing packaging devices, with robust well-documented instructions. These are equally as important as the actual drugs themselves, as it is imperative that end users understand the key workings of each drug, the interactions and how to administer them.
Innovation is prescribed into every element of the pharmaceutical supply chain, especially when it comes to pharmaceutical packaging. The pharmaceutical market is arguably the most competitive industry and with that comes the investment into ensuring everything pharma does, is better than what was delivered before (drug and pharmaceutical packaging). The packaging is now at a level at which the actual packaging can be attached to the human body and be administered hands-free.
Materials are becoming a lot safer, ideas are becoming a lot more innovative and skills sets are becoming greater. Innovation in pharmaceutical packaging is picking up speed and will be ensuring it stays at the forefront of the mind of the pharmaceutical industry supply chain.
Compliant packaging is not only vitally important for child protection and safety, but compliant pharmaceutical packaging is as important for the older generation of patients. One report has delivered an overwhelming figure of $564billion wasted on drugs that are not taken by patients with chronic conditions. Packaging plays a key part in encouraging (and not disappointing) end users via its usability and user experience.
Compliance is a component that runs thought very element of the process. Whether that is PP28 Child Resistant Closures, or a technical device that administers hands free, the primary packaging has to be compliant and free of risk. However, some can spend millions and invest years in their packaging with no conclusion, no matter how good your pharmaceutical packaging, the drug that it is holding only works if people take it. Pharmaceutical packaging design is now not the mundane process that it once was, it has become an integral part of the full process of developing a commercial drug and taking it to market. Pharmaceutical packaging is now (and can be) a sophisticated process which is making the administration of drugs even easier for end users.
The introduction of 3D printing has revolutionised the packaging process and allows designers the ability to amend and edit their designs before going to plot tooling, and even commercial tooling. 3D printing saves vast costs on redesigns, research by producing prototypes in record speeds (within hours). 3D printing will continue to support the design process and potentially could be a solution for small manufactured batches of product lines, to increase speed to market.
The design of packaging has commanded a respect it deserves and will continue to grow rapidly. Child resistant designs need to match the growing intelligent minds of children and the baby boomers who are now of a senior age need the support from pharmaceutical packaging to open packaging with ease.