What’s in a Package? The 3 Main Types of Pharmaceutical Packaging and Why

Written by Economic Development Jobs on August 21, 2016. Posted in Bottle filling companies, Medical packaging materials, Pre filled syringe pharmaceutical packaging

E-pedigree serialization

The pharmaceutical industry is worth billions of dollars, as many of us know. How many times have we visited the doctor and then later gone to the pharmacy with a prescription? Given that almost half of Americans have used at least one prescription drug in the last month and than around 75% of medical visits involve some kind of drug therapy, it’s not surprising that clinical packaging and pharmaceutical packaging companies are experiencing a boom. Have you ever wondered how your pills were kept sterile and safe? Or why those darn caps can be so hard to get off? From pharmaceutical serialisation and track and trace serialisation, to different types of blister packaging, these methods are designed to keep consumers safe.
What’s the Current Need Look Like?
As we advance into old age, many of us become increasingly reliant on drugs to manage our pain and other conditions. Pills can keep us alive for longer, grant us reduced pain levels, and do so much more. As the graying of America continues, that need is sure to increase. In 2010, doctors and pharmacies ordered or distributed almost three billion prescription drugs during or after patient visits with their physicians. In 2011, pharmacy and drug store sales totaled over 200 billion dollars in revenue. During emergency room visits in 2012, almost 275 million dollars worth of prescription drugs were handed out or ordered by doctors, nurses, and pharmacies. Additionally, during outpatient hospital visits in 2012, doctors prescribed or provided a little over 285 million prescription drugs. It’s evident the need will only increase, especially as new drugs are invented to make our lives easier and perhaps even longer.
So What Does Clinical Packaging Have To Do With All This?
Clinical packaging is important as a way to keep medication and other drugs safe from tampering or theft. Drugs pass many hands in the course of their way onto our drugstore or pharmacy shelves and it’s easy for drugs to be stolen, replaced with less effective (or sometimes more potent) drugs, or otherwise tampered with; all things that are costly for the pharmaceutical industry and could be deadly for the consumer. Clinical packaging is also used to keep bottles and other containers childproof.
What Types of Clinical Packaging Exist?
Blister Packaging
There are three main types of packaging in use — blister packaging, pouch packaging, and bottle packaging. The most obvious example of blister packaging is what your pills come encased in — think about the fever reducers or allergy medication you can get off the shelves at your local drugstore. It’s most often used to package unit dose pharmaceuticals — when the package says “take two every 12 hours,” you can easily pop two pills out of the packaging. Blister packaging can be customized using color, style, and container options. When PVC and foil combinations are used, a thicker and more durable package produced. The cavity and pocket keeps the product safer and less exposed to damage. Blister packaging can also come with child safe features, which allows only adults to open the package. For quality control, lot numbers and expiration dates are often printed on blister packaging.
Pouch Packaging
Pouch packaging is common for pharmaceuticals, because it lets companies provide measured doses in prepackaged containers, that can have child safe seals, strip seals, or easy to open rip-and-tear pouches. Pouch packaging is commonly used for liquid products for easy opening and disposal.
Bottle Packaging
Bottle packaging is perhaps one of the most secure methods, as liners and seals keep the product free of any outside contaminants and give the consumer the guarantee that nothing has been tampered with. Bar code printing is often used for identification purposes, as a way to track the bottle and its progress along the chain. There’s also a wide variety of cap options for bottle packaging, that include child safe features, snap on, and twist off, for consumer ease.
The next time you go into a drugstore or pharmacy, rest easy knowing that the pharmaceutical industry is doing its best to keep you healthy and safe with special packaging.

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