Pharmaceutical changes drive need for protective packaging innovation

/ /

For hundreds of years, people have been constantly working to improve health through medicines. With advanced technologies and methods of research and development, this has only become a greater focus among the global community.

Given this fact, it’s no surprise that the global pharmaceutical excipient market is on the rise. Excipients are substances developed to complement the active ingredient of a drug and make it more user-friendly or easier to manufacture and deliver.  By 2021, this market is expected to be worth $7.4 billion, according to Persistence Market Research.

“It’s up to the manufacturer to ensure that the packaging will protect the drug.”

There are many drivers of the pharmaceutical industry, including more people being health-conscious, as well as changing consumer preferences. As the market continues to change, drug manufacturers must understand how to change their packaging strategies to keep up with these developments.

Protective pharmaceutical packaging

Drug manufacturers often overlook the importance of protective pharmaceutical packaging – often leaving packaging decisions for the very last step of the development process. Once a drug is ready for distribution, it will be subject to a variety of environmental conditions. It’s up to the manufacturer to ensure that the packaging will protect the drug from these changing climates, Daniel Stagnaro told Pharmaceutical Processing.Stagnaro works on the global market development of pharmaceutical and medical device films at Klöckner Pentaplast, a German company that produces films for the pharmaceutical industry.

“Our advice: don’t rush and plan early,” Stagnaro said. “With early planning, companies can save on material costs and improve productivity.”

One trend in pharmaceuticals right now is dissolvable tablets that melt in a patient’s mouth. According to Persistence Market Research, the valuation of dissolving tablets is expected to increase from $3.3 billion in 2015 to $5.1 billion in 2021. Dissolving tablets are excellent for people who have difficulty swallowing medication, but their nature makes them highly sensitive to humidity and moisture in the air. Because of this, all packaging – primary, secondary and tertiary – must be resistant to moisture.

Potential industry drivers

As the industry changes, protective packaging will be a key focus of many pharmaceutical manufacturers. This is evident when looking at future trends in the packaging machinery industry. According to PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, pharmaceuticals comprised 8.1 percent of the industry in 2015, but is the fastest-growing sector at an estimated 2.8 percent per year until 2020.

A press release from PMMI stated that two in three companies that responded to the organization’s survey said they would need to upgrade their capital equipment in their packaging operations in the next two years.

Many pharmaceutical manufacturers will have to update their equipment.About two-thirds of pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. will have to upgrade their capital equipment in the next two years.

“Pharmaceutical manufacturers face many of the same opportunities that other packaged goods manufacturers are challenged with, such as sustainability, smart packaging, 3D printing, track & trace and cold chain logistics,” explained Jorge Izquierdo, vice president of market development at PMMI, in a statement.

Persistence Market Research noted that North America in particular will see an increase in need for pharmaceutical packaging developments. An increase in health-conscientious people and an aging population both lead to greater demand for pharmaceuticals that are as user-friendly as possible.

To learn about how Pregis can benefit your packaging operation, reach out to our experts. We will be able to evaluate your current packaging strategy and show you helpful ways to reduce expenses while improving product protection.