Express Pharma

Pharma packaging trends post-COVID-19: The way forward

Siddharth Shah, Director, Bharat Rubber Works, explains the future trends that the pharma industry might bring into use for providing better packaging opportunities

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The pharma packaging industry is vital to the growth and development of the pharma industry. Patient safety, therapeutic efficacy, shelf life, consistency of formulations, composition control and microbiological contamination are all influenced by packaging. The lack of adequate packing solutions can cause this entire effort to fail.

COVID-19 impact on pharma packaging

The COVID-19 epidemic left a profound impact on the pharma packaging sector. Because of the supply chain disruptions, all manufacturers and packaging solution suppliers were challenged. The lack of logistical infrastructure for material dispatch was another important issue throughout the period. Moreover, ancillary sectors such as pharma packaging materials had yet to be included in the definition of essential services.

In response to government policies and actions to make these services necessary, the industry progressively began to adapt and restore normalcy. However, there were substantial shifts. COVID-19 boosted the importance of localisation in pharma packaging. The epidemic provided Indian pharma packaging contractors a head start in the market.

Pharma packaging evolutions in India

After the COVID-19 vaccinations were made in India, Indian pharma packaging companies performed well globally and gained much-needed recognition. This validated both foreign and indigenous manufacturers. The local sector was more than capable of satisfying worldwide criteria when the pandemic forced domestic producers to hunt for appropriate pharma packaging options. As a result, the pharma packaging sector in India gained the much-needed impetus to be considered the preferred packaging partner worldwide.

Apart from the COVID-19 vaccines being packaged in India, non-COVID-related drug packaging demand has surged by over 100 per cent in recent years. It’s now typical for pharma makers and pharma packaging firms to collaborate from the very beginning of the process. The industry has also improvised a lot about operational strategy, particularly raw material procurement planning.

Pharma packaging against counterfeits

Due to the pandemic’s significant shortages of several important pharmaceuticals, various counterfeits entered the market to fill the hole, as there were not many counteracting measures in place. This was a major worry for manufacturers, merchants, end-user and other stakeholders. Today’s technology and swift action by key opinion leaders helped defeat these counterfeit, fake products.

Incorporating pharma packaging options early in the manufacturing process can help avoid this issue. Packaging can be used for identification and validation, making it vital to fight against counterfeits. Several Indian companies are developing advanced tamper-proof packaging and applying blockchain technology for trace and tracking solutions. Pharma packaging technologies help create an environment of confidence, security and trust for all parties in the production and distribution process.

A focus on the customer is crucial

The best-in-class customer experience design is critical because it can revolutionise the pharma industry. Top organisations are getting better and focussing closely on client needs. Creating distinctive and easy-to-use products may be the key to enhance customer experience which can avoid incorrect dosages and prevent any negative incidents.

Customer-centric packaging is the future of the pharma industry, and more companies will start incorporating it into their product designs. The Indian pharma packaging sector is very new. It is still evolving and making a space for itself globally as the preferred packaging partner. The shift towards being more customer-centric is slowly, but gradually getting into the roots of these packaging companies. The fact that most packaging companies in the industry aim to make every packaging collateral as customer-centric as possible continues to be emphasised.

What’s next for the Indian pharma packaging industry?

It is clear that pharma packaging is crucial to medication and medical availability, and in ‘The Pharmacy of the World,’ it is much more so. As more pharma businesses rely on pharmaceuticals and medicines made in India, new difficulties and solutions arise. First, when working on new drug devices, pharma packaging must meet a specified criterion. This step ensures the drug’s safety and storage under varied situations. This test must also be unique to the medicine and meet worldwide and regional regulatory standards. Regular QC inspections are required to ensure system integrity.

Moreover, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) guidelines should be properly followed. Few things on the market nowadays do not come in child-resistant packaging. This is especially true of drugs. Product and packaging teams are also focussing on ergonomic solutions that are more consumer-focussed. Globally, pharma packaging is essential to pharma supplies. With greater localisation and manufacturing, the scope and quality of local pharma packaging are crucial for continued growth.

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