Trends in pharma packaging

Pallavi Choudhary finds that patient-centricity, eco-friendly, sustainable packaging, ease of production, child-resistant packaging, user-friendly packaging and tamper-evident packaging are some of the trends driving the pharma packaging sector, as she interacts with experts and leaders from the industry at PlastIndia 2023

Pharmaceutical packaging has come a long way in recent years. The industry constantly innovates to provide the most reliable and efficient packaging solutions, from automated assembly lines to shrink-wrap and other state-of-the-art technologies. The rise of new drug delivery systems, such as inhalers and patches, has changed how drugs are packaged and presented to consumers. As such, companies must stay on top of the latest trends in pharma packaging to remain competitive. In this post, we will explore some of the latest trends that are transforming the pharma packaging industry.

The pharma industry is constantly evolving and changing. As such, the packaging industry must also change and adapt to meet the needs of pharma companies. Some of the latest trends in pharma packaging include accessibility for patients, eco-friendly and sustainable packaging, ease of production, child-resistant packaging, user-friendly packaging, tamper-evident packaging, and more.

Different types of pharma packaging include blister packs, bottles, and capsules. Blister packs offer high protection for your product, are accessible to stores and transport, and can be easily opened and closed. However, they are less durable than other types of packaging, so you need to be careful with them. Bottles offer good protection for your product and are easy to store and transport, but they can be breakable, so you need to be careful with them. However, capsules offer good protection for your product, but they are not as easy to store or transport as other types of packaging.

This was all about what we felt about the trends in pharma packaging. To know more about this, our team connected with some of the top leaders in the pharma packaging industry at PlastIndia 2023 and in another way. Here are the comments from the leaders:

Responsible manufacturing is our key focus: UFlex Chemicals

While speaking to Rajesh Bhasin, Joint President – Chemical Business from UFlex Chemicals division at PlastIndia 2023, we learned about their plans of introducing inks for the pharma foils and narrow web labelling for pharma products. Bhasin said, “Being in the chemical division, we are concerned for our environment. Our focus is on responsible manufacturing, in which we are putting efforts into protecting the environment. We have controlled and managed pollution by reducing water consumption by almost 90 per cent and increasing production by four times. We have also been reducing hazardous waste in which our team tracks each and every operation.”

Our manufacturing plant in Noida is a Zero Liquid Discharge Facility for water and environmental protection in which we reuse and recycle the wastewater efficiently. We promote water-based inks and ensure green products by reducing the solvent content,” he concluded.

Look for biodegradable packaging to reduce waste: Dr Boy

Germany-based Dr Boy is a specialist in liquid silicon applications, where it manufactures liquid silicone rubber baby nipples, catheters, urine catheters, and all the catheters which can be used for the heart. Talking about their presence in PlastIndia 2023 and the pharma sector, S Sundaram, CEO, Karan Engineering (Exclusive Agent of Dr Boy in India), said, “PlastIndia is the third largest show on plastics, and I am glad that it’s happening in New Delhi after a gap of 12 years. The northern region of India is a major market segment in medical applications, it has a huge contribution towards plastics. We have received huge inquiries for different applications in this show till now.”

For trends in pharma packaging, I would say that the entire pharma packaging is working towards primary packaging, which includes disposable and film packaging, and secondary packaging, which includes corrugation box. The pharma packaging industry is evolving a lot, and plastics are playing a vital role. Many things like disposable syringes, hand gloves, saline, glucose, syrups, and more are packed in plastics, so we can’t replace the plastics. In 2023, we are planning to launch our own brand in India, in which we will introduce menstrual cups for female healthcare applications, some other catheters, and ventilator masks. As a machine manufacturer, our role is critical, and we are very concerned about sustainable packaging. We always have a role in offering technological solutions to packaging manufacturers. The future of pharma packaging in India looks very bright, and the reason behind this is the growing demand with the healthcare situation in India and the increasing population size. My suggestion to the people would be to look for an alternative kind of biodegradable packaging to reduce the waste,” he concluded.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle are key aspects of sustainable packaging: Manjushree Technopack

Recently in PlastIndia, our team met with Gaurav Luniya, Chief Business Officer, Manjushree Technopack, and discussed the trends in pharma packaging, for which he said, “Pharma segment in India is growing rapidly. While in rigid packaging, PET bottles, HDPE bottles for OTC products as well as regulated products have been prevalent for the last many years, the current focus is packaging materials that withstand very low temperatures (e.g., for storing vaccines) as well as large active ingredient packaging. At the show, we are displaying PET bottles. We have recently developed new packaging for customers like Sun Pharma, Lupin and more, and some more are in the pipeline to be introduced in 2023, like eye droppers. Overall PlastIndia 2023 was very well managed, and we saw genuine enquiries.”

One of the key macro drivers in packaging is sustainability. For sustainable packaging, there are three ways on which we are focusing – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. The Pharma industry will eventually adopt a recycling approach, however, we see this to happen over a 7-10 year period. Pharma packaging is evolving towards more specialised requirements,” he concluded.

Anti-counterfeiting is back: Printmann Group

Ankit Tanna, director of Printmann Group, commenting on the trends of pharma packaging, said, “If you ask me about the trends in pharma packaging, I would say that nowadays, there are lots of development in anti-counterfeiting. Anti-counterfeiting took a break for a couple of years back during the Covid period, but now, it’s coming back. Secondly, we see a lot of trends toward nitrocellulose-free aluminium packaging. Nito cellulose has harmful properties, so many aluminium blister packs are moving toward nitro cellulose-free inks and varnishes. Since we are into multiple products, we are trying to produce combo products from our existing products as this will save our customers’ process time on their machines.”

We are into paper and aluminium, so this makes an option for sustainable packaging. Sustainability is getting driven by the products which we are already in. The future of pharma packaging is extremely bright and continues to be an integral part of pharma. Much smart technology will come into pharma packaging in the pharma sector, which is child-resistant and senior-friendly. In India, all the regulations are starting, so there is a lot of scope left for the domestic market to adopt smart packaging and various innovative packaging concepts available today for the export market,” Tanna concluded. 

Paper pouch making to be a trend in pharma packaging: Shubhan Prints

Bharat Gupta, MD, Shuban Prints, commenting on the trends in pharma packaging, said, “There are several trends in the pharma packaging industry, including sustainability, smart packaging, patient-centred design, child-resistant packaging, and track and trace systems. These trends aim to improve the safety, security, and sustainability of pharma packaging, enhancing the user experience for patients. In 2023, we will focus more on paper pouch making. Our approach to sustainable packaging is doing more experiments through recyclable material and more rigid material in injectables. As a result, more alternatives are being developed which can be used in molding and packaging for vials and injectables. We are also trying to work on recycling waste from packaging.”

The future of pharma packaging is expected to be shaped by several trends and advancements, including the increased focus on sustainability, innovative packaging, personalization, and other new technologies. Overall, the future of pharma packaging is expected to be characterised by an increased focus on sustainability, security, and patient-centered design,” he added.

Sustainability is at forefront of our agenda: Hotpack Global

Dharmesh Zavery, general manager (Flexible Packaging, Folding Carton & Labels), Hotpack Global, confirmed their new launch and said, “Hotpack has been at the forefront of innovation and investing regularly in providing various solutions to the packaging segment. In 2023, we will be coming up with several products that will help the pharma industry move along with its agenda of sustainability, barrier requirements, and convenience. Sustainability is at the forefront of our agenda. We have been working on alternative materials like PLA and Paper(FSC-certified) solutions.”

We have also tied up with waste management companies, recyclers, and brand owners to tie up the entire value chain, enabling us to create a circular loop. We believe in making our environment cleaner and greener by extending our responsibility beyond being just packaging material supplier. Nowadays, the pharma packaging space is highly demanding and will always have a very high growth rate and demands on innovations,” he concluded.

 Well, from the above statements by the industry leaders, it is clear that advancements within the pharma packaging industry have been rapid and far-reaching, with an increasing focus on convenience, safety, and aesthetics. The latest trends are set to continue this trend, ensuring customers receive their products in the most convenient, secure, and aesthetically pleasing way possible. From blister packs to intelligent packaging solutions – it’s clear that modern innovations are here to stay.

biodegradable packagingchild-resistant packagingDr BoyManjushree Technopackpatient-centred designpharma packagingPlastIndia 2023Printmann GroupShubhan Printssmart packagingsustainable packagingUFlex Chemicals
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