Earlier pharmaceutical packaging used to make mainly for preservation and the presentation of the product itself. Nowadays big significant changes are undergoing and the basic functions are things of the past. Pharma packaging has become one of the most complex industry and it is broadened with many aspects like communication, promotion, and motivating customers. Furthermore, packaging faces bigger challenges like fighting against counterfeiting, being child-resistant, tamper-evident, cost-effective and also eco-friendly, meeting with the regulatory requirements etc...
In this article, we examine the key trends and innovations which are currently shaping the pharma
Pharma packaging market is predicted to reach 80$ billion by 2020
According to a recent report of MarketsandMarkets, the market for Pharmaceutical Packaging, in terms of value, is projected to reach more than $80 Billion by 2020, witnessing a CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) around 6.50% between 2015 and 2020.
Smart Blister Pack
Can you imagine a blister pack which plays a recorded message about the exact dosage and details of the patient when it is pressed? Moreover, it would have a timer that alerts the patient to take the tablets. Or even more, by pressing the pack it shows us the product information or speaks it out for those who are not able to read it.
These smart blister packs are not distant dreams anymore.
The Med-ic® called as the most accurate smart blister in the world. It monitors the condition of products and track their progress via Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) tags. It has many advantages for example, with the RFID the temperature of multipacks can be recorded and monitored, moreover, it makes easier to locate items during shipping.
Although there is an undeniable potential in this technology, electronic blister packs with RFID devices are rarely used in primary packaging of pharmaceuticals as they are quite expensive. But further developments can find a way to make this technology cost-effective.
Senior-friendly and Child-resistant Packaging
The significant share of elderly in the world population is increasing, it is crucial for pharma packaging industries to focus on senior-friendly packaging. MedLock EZ is a child-resistant, senior-friendly and sustainable unit dose alternative to amber prescription vials. It uses a locking mechanism (patent pending) that is difficult for children to open and easy for adults. Besides SF packaging, Child resistant packaging solutions are also important. ln 2014, Locked4kids was introduced by Romaco and Ecobliss Holding BV and it won several awards in the Packaging category. It is a re-closable and child-resistant carton for blister packs.
"The carton has openings at two sides in which the tray automatically locks when fully inserted. The tray has hooks at two sides which have to be pushed simultaneously to unlock. While keeping the hooks pressed the tray should be pulled out of the carton.
The push points are placed diagonally across each other at a distance that adults can physically cover. This distance however is too much for young children."
Maybe the biggest challenge for drug regulators and producers is the counterfeit medicine. The big multinational pharmaceutical companies invest huge amount of money for new drug formulations and also packaging but they have to deal with a serious problem. Counterfeiters create fake medicines in the market and they are just copying the appearance of the product so just the packaging. So it is essential to innovate the packaging technologies in order anti-counterfeiting.
For example, the producers can place covered features like hidden text, UV printing, magnetic inks etc.. on the packages. It is difficult to copy and these kind of hidden features are becoming very popuar in the pharma sector.
Beside these, the innovation of the printing of packages is a effective way to fight against counterfeiters. Hologram, vignette technology, laser printing, coin reactive printing, sandwich printing, both sides printing registration etc. are becoming popular.
Although several techniques have been developed, unfortunately it is not sufficient.
They have to be made more consumer friendly in order to make it easier to recognise the counterfeited drugs, so an average man can detect the 'fake' drugs just by looking at the packaging of it.