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Spotlight on Pharmaceutical Packaging

Phaurmaceutical Packaging

Spotlight on Pharmaceutical Packaging

Pharmaceutical packaging is a hot topic right now, with not one, but two reports released that focus on trends and growth patterns in the pharma packaging industry.

One, by RnR Market Research, succinctly titled “World Pharmaceutical Packaging to 2017,” predicts the worldwide market will grow to $90 billion by 2017, with the majority of that growth coming from North American, Western Europe, and Japan. Look to China, India, Brazil and Turkey for growth in this industry. The largest package category will remain plastic bottles, but pre-filled syringes, pre-fillable inhalers, blister packs and newly developed pharma packaging will all be part of the mix.

The report “Pharmaceutical Packaging Market (Global and U.S.) -Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2012 – 2018” from Transparency Market Research covers similar territory. This report predicts market growth to a less optimistic $73 billion by 2018. Similarly to RnR’s report, North America and Europe account for the lion’s share of demand. But Asia Pacific is predicted to be the fastest growing market, hitting $21 billion by 2018.

New rules and regulations by governing bodies including the Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council (HCPC), National Quality Forum (NQF) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be a factor in pharma packaging growth as companies adapt their packaging to comply. For some international markets, stricter government policies, and an increase in manufacturing and exports will drive expansion.

Some New Innovations

Tampering and counterfeiting are two big drivers of innovations (and costs) in pharma packaging. According to a recent report by Cutting Edge Research, pharma companies expect to increase their “pharmacoviligance budgets” next year. While there are no reliable figures as to the actual scope of counterfeit drugs (illegal activity is by its nature difficult to quantify), counterfeiting is a problem that seems to be growing, and, certainly, attention to it is keeping pace.

Royston Labels in the U.K. recently released an anti-tamper label that tears easily when tampered with. German medical package labeling company Schreiner MediPharm has developed labeling for pen injectors and auto-injectors that include a varnish to help improve the user’s grip, a detachable section where users can track their use, a hologram for security, and a QR code that links back to the brand’s website. Rollprint Packaging Products has a new film they call Ghost, which embeds a watermark directly into flexible packaging material. The company says the product is best for the chevron pouches often used with medical devices (like scalpels and prefilled syringes).

There are also some new innovations that aren’t related to counterfeiting but instead focus on patient education and ease-of-use. In Sweden, packaging manufacturer Stora Ensa has teamed up with Chalmers University of Technology to create a pharma package that records when medication is taken (of if it’s not) and relays that information to a health care provider. E-Pharma Trento just won a CPhI Pharma Award for its new blister pack design that gives tablets a rigid protective casing, which, at the same time, are easily removed by the user—good for fragile pharmaceuticals that might suffer damage.