Pharmaceutical industry is in a evolutionary stage today in order to meet the challenges of medication errors, sustainability, counterfeiting, patients convenience and child safety. It is very important to meet the recent regulatory requirements before designing solution to any of the above problem. It is a well known fact that the world’s one third population is in the age group of 55 or over and is the major user of the medications for the chronic treatments like diabetes, arthritis, heart related disorders etc., where medication errors occurs due to forgetfulness, non-adherence, non-compliant packaging leading to ineffective therapy. Thus this ageing population needs convenient, cost effective packaging which retains the safety of medicines.
Recent pharmaceutical regulations requires digitalization of pharmaceutical packaging to fight against counterfeiting. Thus ‘Serialization’, printing of Bar codes as well as holograms or watermarks are being used by the pharmaceutical industries to meet the requirements of regulations. The pharmaceutical industry is attempting to make the packaging more eco-friendly by the use of recycled paper or paper boards for packaging. In this way, sustainability is being achieved.Further attempts in the area of research in 3 D printing of medicines is aimed at improving manufacturing efficacy where less efforts will be required towards packaging due to customization of medicines.
Thus numerous innovations in pharmaceutical packaging are underway leading to the development of ‘Smart packaging solutions’ to overcome the challenges of medication errors, child safety, sustainability and improved manufacturing efficacy.
Westrock, under the brand name ‘CerePack®’ developed paperboard packaging which contains microprocessor chips to track the removal of each specific tablet and also reminds patient of accurate doses. Chip also can record date, time and place where the medication was taken. Currently it is being used for clinical trials. But can be used on commercial basis to monitor memory lapses as well as medication errors. In order to keep track on storage conditions of medicines Hally Labels has designed thermochromic labels for pharmaceutical packaging which changes color if not stored at a specified temperature. ‘Ecoslide-Rx’is a child resistant, adult friendly compliance package which is eco-friendly as well. It needs a “targeted” push through motion instead of usual peel tabs.
Thus pharmaceutical research as well as packaging development are going hand in hand to provide high quality services to customers maintaining cost effectivity following the safety regulations.
Dr. Vaishali A. Kilor
Associate Professor & Industrial Consultant
Gurunanak College of Pharmacy, Nagpur, India