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Product quality, people safety and sustainability through pharma packaging – What, Why and How  

Prabir Kumar Das, Head - Pkgg Tech Services, OSD (India) Mylan Laboratories elaborates on several important aspects of packaging and labelling in the pharma industry such as how to reevaluate packaging needs without overburdening the society or the environment

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When the entire world is under the threat of a deadly pandemic, it is time to introspect about ourself, our systems and procedures, habits and practices, standards and controls, not only for our own survival but also to ensure safety and security of the next generation. The bigger question is now the sustainability of human civilisation. While we are under stress, our next generation is under pressure and they will simply follow us as mentors to sustain their lives. It is also prudent to recapitulate what we have learnt so far in our social life and in our profession. Let us review how can we face the challenges and how can we ensure the smooth flow of life through simplicity. The need of the hour is to ensure the safety of human health with all essential goods and services across the territories.

Apart from contemporary and conventional topics like quality and compliance or supply chain security, there is a growing concern about sustainability. How can we ensure that the momentum of human civilisation is maintained in a clean and healthy environment? How will our next generation sustain future challenges in a better manner? How can crisis and risk be minimised through knowledge, education and wisdom? How will statutory and regulatory norms be designed and controlled to maintain a uniform standard? How can technology and innovation strengthen the product-people connectivity and thereby propel the development and growth of the civilisation?

Here are a few points for brainstorming during this introspection period:

How can we optimise resources and improve our habits and practices to reduce the load on our friendly environment?

Being subject matter experts how can we reevaluate our packaging need for different levels of packaging without over-specifying or overburdening the society or the environment?

What all parameters need to be considered for successful designing of the most suitable packaging and how can we influence the people practices?

The entire system follows a continuous cyclic process, where each one has a critical role to play. Awareness building, understanding and contribution from academia, industry, regulators and the consumers always help for a successful mission and this is the right time for collaborative participation to fight the battle and become the winner.

We know the ‘product’ is at the core in the entire process and we also know that the ‘product’ is always delivered to the ‘people’ along with ‘packaging and labelling’. While product-people connectivity is established through packaging, labelling act as the communicator when there is no one around. Packaging and labelling are complementing to each other to not only protect, preserve and safe delivery of the product but also to accomplish the role of an ambassador.

Product quality and people safety are critical aspects associated with all essential commodities and a hot topic for discussions at various forums. What it means and how it is accomplished? Our understanding of these should be very clear to enhance our performance along with the product. Let us first understand about quality and safety compliance:

But the question is how can we accomplish Patient Compliance. The simple equation is Patient Compliance = (Process and Quality) Compliance + (Statutory and Regulatory) Compliance. When we internally control the entire process and quality and when we include all external statutory and regulatory information through packaging and labelling, then the Product becomes compliant, along with its packaging and labelling:

However, it is not that easy how easy it has been presented here. People associated with the industry need to be aligned with this simplicity – at each level, at each function and at each role. It is very much important to travel together in a changing and evolving environment. A lot of coordination and cooperation needed to face future challenges to safeguard the philosophy of patient safety and patient compliance. Embracing newer technologies for process automation, quality systems, brand protection, and supply chain management are needed to ensure the product is safely and securely delivered to the patient in the right quantity at the right place and right time with the right quality.

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