Traceability and sustainability are two major factors impacting packaging in the pharma industry. We talk to Jessica Busa, project head at Siyakha Imperial Printing Co., about some of the latest developments within these two areas.
Counterfeit products represent many dangers. Other than the risk to the patient, fake medication also has a detrimental effect on a product’s reputation and sales. Barcoding, RFID tags and luminescent UV varnish are some track-and-trace tools used in verifying the uniqueness of a product and package. Holographs and other detection elements can add layers of security to these already established technologies.
Busa says there is also a significant opportunity within manufacturing practices and processes for more sustainable pharmaceutical packaging.
“A sustainable strategy must align with patient safety and a product’s effective functionality. Lightweight blister pack materials can be used if protection of the product and handling are taken into account. Machine technology has made strides in efficient sealing with the potential to reduce material and waste. Even the amount of power, air or water used on a line can be sustainable. For example, adjustments in raw material specifications can reduce the amount of heat used to shrink a lid,” she explains.
Ideas for innovation
The pharmaceutical industry has evolved considerably. There is a much more informed customer base as a result of growth in the demand for over-the-counter medicines. Sometimes simple features incorporated in standard medication packaging can make a difference. A top-opening design, versus opening a package from the side, showcases the medication to the patient making it easy for them to see how many pills are left. An intake timer in the packaging reduces the chance of missing or skipping a dose, while a last blister reminder helps prevent patients from running out of medication.
Peel-and-read labels have aided in stipulating the large amount of mandatory information on a limited surface area. Including a QR code leading directly to a product website where summarised and segmented sections of the packaging leaflet can be accessed, provides easy access to product information.
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