Could Cost Control Efforts Transform Medical Packaging?

Medical packaging converters report that they’re being asked to offer up suggestions for saving costs. But how likely is a conservative medical device manufacturing industry to make changes?

"The industry has traditionally been hamstrung by expensive and time-consuming revalidation work,” reports Michael Wollberg, sales manager for Printpack Medical. “They haven’t had enough resources to look at legacy packages.”

Ironically, however, the push for greater cost savings could be arming MDMs with just the resources they need. “Cost pressures are increasing so much that resources are being made available to reconsider some of these older designs,” adds Wollberg.

Performance and quality are still top MDM concerns, despite the push for cost cutting. Medical packaging material converters are being asked to provide material testing data as well as heightened control and cleanliness during converting.

Suppliers are more than doing their homework, they report in our feature. Printpack Medical is among those that are providing detailed studies of their materials and formats. Says Wollberg: “We have prepared aging studies and cytotoxicity studies and gathered other technical data upfront to shorten validation time. We also have performance studies available.”

Wollberg, who has more than 17 years in the industry, adds that he sees a trend toward MDMs using supplier data. “They still are resource constrainted,” he says.

Many MDMs are also interested in sustainability, says Wollberg, given the prevalence of corporate initiatives. Suppliers are investigating “greener” materials as well as reductions material weight and thickness. But changes don’t appear to be made purely for sustainability gains.

“Greener materials can often cost more, yet we hear that there can be no increase in costs. Given the cost pressures, greener also has to be cheaper,” says Wollberg.

Adds Ed Haedt, vice president of marketing for Perfecseal: “Perfecseal hears a lot about sustainability; however, the main driver that seems to be at the forefront today is cost savings, both in material unit costs and in overall integrated system savings. We focus much of our material development efforts into finding more cost effective solutions for our customers, while not forgetting the most important requirement, at the end of the day, is quality.”

 

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