Make Every Second Count with Cartons

Cartons help drug makers' products stand out on the shelf.




Marla Donahue, president, Paperboard Packaging Council

Paperboard folding cartons are one of the best ways to package pharmaceuticals for a number of reasons. First, cartons provide the necessary billboard space for including both instructions and marketing information for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, treatments, and tests. For prescription drugs, they keep the patient inserts with the medication in one package. Finally, cartons also provide an extra layer of tamper resistance.

A recent study sponsored by the Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC) and conducted by Prism Associates (Chicago) predicts that U.S. medicinal carton use will grow 5% per year to an increase of 20% by 2001. According to the study, several trends are increasing pharmaceutical use. These include the following:


  • Demographics are positive for the consumption of all pharmaceuticals. For example, the population is aging, and Medicare patients use three times the number of prescriptions as do patients under the age of 65.


  • People of all ages are more interested in their health than ever before, resulting in an increased demand for home diagnostic kits.


  • FDA and other regulatory agencies—with the help of funds provided by the drug manufacturers and the Prescription Drug User Fee Act—have streamlined drug review, facilitating the development of new prescription drugs.


  • OTC products are being increasingly sold in superstores where sales clerks are typically in short supply, leaving consumers to determine their drug purchases. Packaging is therefore the only vehicle to help them with that choice.

Paperboard folding cartons can help drug packagers keep up with these trends. Prism interviewed manufacturers from a variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals, to find out why they use paperboard packaging for their products. Some of their reasons include:


  • The superior graphics used on cartons help attract consumers and help products compete against nearby items.


  • Folding cartons provide the space and flat surface needed for labeling.


  • Retailers want to make their stores comfortable and attractive to customers. Folding cartons enable a limited store staff to keep shelves neatly stacked.


  • A carton allows companies to maximize the little space that retailers provide. For example, as one person said during the survey, "If the product is in a bottle, a carton gives better presence."


  • Cartons are made from a renewable resource and can be recycled easily.

Demand for cartons has also increased because of the latest innovations in paperboard packaging. As the Prism study noted, the traditional box is making way for cartons with curves, metallic coatings, fluorescent colors, holograms, barrier coatings, screw-cap reclosures, and carrying handles. Carton companies are increasingly thinking of ways to create cartons in infinite shapes, sizes, and designs to develop the packaging that satisfies both manufacturers and consumers.

Research shows that approximately 70% of all purchasing decisions are made at the point of sale, yet the average eye contact time per product is less than a second. With outstanding graphics and billboard impact, innovative cartons can make every second count.

For more information, contact PPC at 703/836-3300.




Paperboard Packaging Council



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