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Uncovering the Latest Trends in Pharmaceutical Packaging

Jun 5, 2018

The global pharmaceutical market is evolving, driven by greater international regulatory requirements for improved quality as well as local healthcare policies. The pharmaceutical packaging and labeling market is predicted to feel a boost from the maturation of the biologics market and its new therapies. Pharmaceutical packaging particularly needs reliable and speedy solutions that comply with a combination of product protection, tamper evidence, quality, patient comfort and security requirements. Constant innovations in pharmaceuticals, such as blow fill seal (BFS) vials, anti-counterfeit measures, snap off ampoules, plasma impulse chemical vapor deposition (PICVD) coating technology, two-in-one prefilled vial design, unit dose vials, prefilled syringes and child-resistant packs have a direct impact on the packaging.

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Let’s take a look at some of the pharmaceutical packaging trends that are on our radar this year:

Sterilized Labeling

Sterilization is one of the pharmaceutical packaging trends that will continue to be a driving force.  Several suppliers have introduced technologies to enable serialized printing on primary packaging and even on finished dosages. New serialized labeling technologies on display include printing 2D barcodes directly onto vials and onto pills and capsules. While these pharmaceutical packaging trends have been more widely adopted in Japan, they seem to be trending ever-increasingly in the Americas too.

New Biological Drug Formulation

The rising popularity of new biological drug formulations continues to fuel some unanticipated packaging challenges. These new drugs are quite different from traditional small-molecule formulations, and in some cases, there have been some instances of drug interactions with packaging materials. Ergo, the growing demand for new formats and materials is one of the rising pharmaceutical packaging trends of today. The glass vial is an example of a format that is undergoing changes that reflect the market’s demands. Some novel biologics have properties that react with glass and cause unwanted glass flaking in solutions. Manufacturers are now investigating how vials are formed in the heating process so that flaking can be mitigated.

To know more about the pharmaceutical packaging trends to look out for this year, speak to our industry experts.

Abandoning the ‘Big Factory’ Model

A decade ago the pharmaceutical industry’s primary goal was to handle bigger production lines and attain exceptional productivity and product outcomes. Today, the industry seems to have taken a different direction. Today, there are filling lines that are smaller, more modular, and flexible, with shorter lead times. The primary industry drivers for this move away from the big factory model has been the growth of personalized medicines, the need for smaller batches, and the increase in regionalized manufacturing markets. Today, the pharmaceutical packaging trends capturing the limelight are off-the-shelf performance modules that enable drug manufacturers to select components with shorter lead times. This also aligns with the growth of personalized medicines in which batches are smaller.

Contract packaging

As the market changes and regulations stiffen, pharmaceutical manufacturers are hard-pressed to keep up with the latest pharmaceutical packaging trends. Pharmaceutical packaging itself is increasing in complexity. That’s why more pharmaceutical manufacturers are turning to specialized contract packagers (CPs). This will help ensure a higher level of speed and accuracy in the packaging operations. Such pharmaceutical packaging trends give pharma companies the opportunity to focus on their core competencies —developing drugs— and leave the mounting complexities of pharmaceutical packaging to the experts.

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