Pharmaceutical packaging is built to be appealing, portable, secured, and convenient to use. These types of packaging have identification information regarding storage, distribution, and sales. Good packaging preserves the drugs during storage, till it reaches the final consumer.
Pharmaceutical packaging must protect the drug or drug products from external factors like temperature variations and extreme sunlight. Pharma packaging solutions play a key role in the healthcare sector and the pharmaceutical industry. But before these products reach their final destination they must be in good packaging. This brings us to the focus point of this article. So which type of material is used for medicines packaging?
Types of medicine packaging
The healthcare and pharmaceutical industries highly need pharmaceutical packaging solutions. They use it to complete the medical prescription of various drugs for identification, storage, and consumption. There are three types of medicine packaging available in every pharmaceutical product no matter the dosage. These categories include primary, secondary, and tertiary packaging.
– Primary packaging: This involves materials that are directly in contact with the drug or pharmaceutical product. It’s the main material around the drug. The materials must be static, secure, and it should protect the product from external factors like moisture and temperature variations. A few types of primary medicine packaging include sachet packaging, bottles, glass vial, injectables, blister packs, and more.
– Secondary packaging: This involves the use of boxes or cartons to store the medicine. It must contain information and instructions on how to administer the pharmaceutical product.
– Tertiary packaging: This is the final level of packaging. This type of packaging is done to facilitate transportation, shipping, and wholesale storage. Tertiary packaging protects both primary and secondary packaging from external factors during transportation.
Materials used in medical packaging
The variation in the type of packaging is because of the different types of raw materials. Most packaging companies manufacture different types of packaging. These packaging results from other raw materials, organic and inorganic.
A medicine packaging company usually chooses its pharmaceutical packaging material based on the type of drug to be packaged and specific patient needs. Sometimes these materials are known as primary packaging because they directly contact the drug formulation. Some packaging materials include glass, plastics, elastomeric material such as rubber, and more.
The different packaging materials used in the pharmaceutical industry
Pharmaceutical companies manufacture drug packaging with a different range of materials. New technology offers wide-ranging options for pharmaceutical packaging. The discovery of new materials for packaging means several factors must be considered.
These factors include cost, convenience, dosage form, degree of protection required, sterilization methods, drug-material compatibility, and filling methods. The chosen material for packaging must be sustainable enough to improve safety and drug usage.
Since there are different types of dosage forms, stability, and drug effects, varieties of pharmaceutical packaging materials are used. These include glass, rubber, plastics, metals, paper, films, aluminum foil, and laminates, and fibrous material.
The primary packaging materials for medicine packaging
While there exist different packaging materials, only a few major ones are used by pharmaceutical companies. Glass, plastic, and metal are common packaging materials.
– Glass: This is the popular method for drug packaging because of the numerous benefits it offers. Glass is transparent, economical, non-degradable, and comes in various shapes and sizes. Glass possesses high protection power because of its inert properties, which prevents any case of drug-material interactions. Pharmaceutical companies use amber glass because it’s more resistant to U.V. rays than clear glass.
– Plastics: It’s a common material because it’s versatile, flexible, durable, and portable. However, the con to using plastic is the high rate of drug-material interactions through the transfer of leachable. Some types of plastics used include polypropylene (P.P.), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), etc.
– Metal: This is a less popular form of medicine packaging. Types of metal common in medicine packaging include steel aluminum and alloys of aluminum. Metal is the primary material for packing the dosage in gel forms. However, some metals are chemically reactive. Therefore, we recommend you use Tin- or Tin-plated steel because of their minimal reactivity.
Organic packaging materials for medicine packaging
Pharma packaging companies are welcoming eco-friendly, organic, and biodegradable materials to manufacture packaging. Since it deals with nature, it will make the world a better place and also offer a brand reputation.
The organic raw materials for manufacturing packages come from plants, animals, agricultural feedstocks waste, and marine food processing industry waste. Organic and biodegradable materials can stop climate change by promoting a safe environment. Examples of organic packaging materials include paper, cork, starch, chitin, cellulose, gelatin, collagen, gluten, soy, keratin, and more.
Medicine packaging regulations
The pharma packaging is very important because its deals with consumer health. Therefore, the packaging of pharmaceutical products is under strict regulations. These regulations and guidelines are set up by regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure good manufacturing practices (GMP) in each pharma company. These regulations also ensure that pharma companies offer standard packaging systems, such as standard packaging equipment (packaging machines) or medical devices.
Since each country has its regulatory agencies, ensure to check the regulations of your country. Regardless, the World Health Organization (WHO) has set up global pharmacopeia standards which must be followed.
These standards and policies are set up to ensure transparency in the pharmaceutical industry as well as to ensure patient safety.
Packaging standards include de production location and its sterility. It also involves packaging labels and packaging materials. Common guidelines include Anti-tampering regulations issued by FDA, and Labelling regulations (Fair Packaging and Labelling Act 1967).
Knowing the best medicines packaging can save a lot of lives. Since medicines are to cure us, we have to ensure that the packaging method offers ample protection. The type of materials for packaging will depend on the type of medicine. Lifesaving injectables will preferably go with glass materials or COP vials. US AID medicines will go in big plastic bottles. Lifesaving liquids for accidents will go well with multilayer plastic bags.