Pharmaceutical packaging

dinsdag, 13-1-2015  

Unlike pharmaceutical packaging, medicine itself has been around for as long as humankind has walked the earth. At first, the struggling troglodytes regarded the healing capacities of plants and herbs, as magical and medical practice was mainly a matter of luck and coincidence. Only until a century and a half ago, doctors and medics adopted a more scientific approach to medicine and medical care. From that moment on, producing pharmaceutics with utmost care has become the norm in the pharmaceutical industry. New drugs are now tested in carefully set up experimental trials, using the double blind method to guarantee proper results. All these precautions are necessary in order to make sure the patient will not run any evitable risks in taking his or her medication. It is very important to consider that medicine and other pharmaceutical products can be dangerous stuff when used without proper instruction. Therefore, it is essential that the manufacturer of the medical product aptly inform the user about the properties of the drug, its intended effects as well as its side effects and the recommended dose and usage. Usually the pharmaceutical packaging, containing the product, specifies the content’s purpose to some extent. One should then look for further information in the added information leaflet, for example in order to learn the proper way of using the medicine and to see if the patient belongs to a higher risk category of users. Still, for a first impression, the pharmaceutical packaging is of critical importance. It shows the name of the drug and sometimes a written or visual indication as to the part of the body it is supposed to aid or bring relief to. Pharmaceutical packaging, then, communicates at first glance what type of pharmaceutical product the customer is dealing with. Therefore, the designer of pharmaceutical packaging must adjust the containers to the type of drug it will carry. Every new drug entering the market needs specific pharmaceutical packaging of its own.

Custom-made pharmaceutical packaging

Before commenting how time- and resource consuming it is to design specific pharmaceutical packaging for every single new drug invented, critics should first realize that the pharmaceutical industry has a certain duty towards its clients. People making use of the services and products of the pharmaceutical industry are usually sick or in need of help. Taking advantage of these people in order to make lots of money is extremely unethical. Any activities of the sort should meet institutionalized punishment. However reasonable, this is a rather unrealistic and idealistic viewpoint. As long as the pharmaceutical industry is dealing with our health, we have no choice but to condone their economic motives. Pharmaceutical packaging, then, is one relatively easy way for the industry to take care of their customers. For every new drug introduced to the market, custom-made pharmaceutical packaging is potentially available. Depending on the type of medicine (pills, powders, liquids, syrups, etc.) specialized companies can deliver any sort of packaging. In some cases, they will even deliver machines with which the client can produce the desired pharmaceutical packaging himself. If, on the other hand, the client leaves the production of the pharmaceutical packaging to the manufacturer, he can rely upon the punctuality of the latter. The manufacturer will deliver the order within the specified timeframe and completely according to the client’s instructions. Naturally, this is extremely important, since a small mistake could mean a huge risk for the user of a pharmaceutical product. Manufacturers of pharmaceutical packaging can deliver any type of containers, such as:

  • sachets for powders
  • horizontally packed tablets
  • bottles for liquids
  • fillings
  • vertical single portion sticks

Moreover, when the drug manufacturer entrust the production of the pharmaceutical packaging line to the packaging manufacturer, the first should realize he must deliver the medical product to his trading partner. How else is the medicine going to end up in the packaging? In doing so, the drug developer must be able to trust the packaging manufacturer in handling the pharmaceutics properly.


The proper handling of pharmaceutics entails a very specific and careful workflow. This means the producer of pharmaceutical packaging must take extra care of hygiene, for example, and make sure no external material can mingle with the medicine before packing. This will ensure the purity of the drug and avoid the danger of contamination by undesired microbes, such as bacteria or fungi. Because some drugs are stored in a cabinet for a rather long time, it is relevant they stay safe for usage during long periods. Both the drug developer and the party delivering the pharmaceutical packaging must therefore work in a contamination free area, also referred to as ‘cleanroom’. What is more, the producer designs the medical containers with the purpose of protecting the drugs inside.  Usually, keeping them dry, dark and sealed off from the external environment is enough to do the trick. Most pharmaceuticals also require specifically designed child safety containers, which makes accidentally swallowing medicine impossible for children. A child can end up with serious internal injuries from ingesting pharmaceuticals not designed for their little bodies. Better safe than sorry, the pharmaceutical packaging industry contributes a great deal to the safety of children around the world by developing special wrappers, containers and packages for different types of medicine. Another element of developing safe packages for medical products is consideration for the environment. Pharmaceutical packaging developers are increasingly paying attention to the biodegradability of their products.

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