NEWS: New Nasal Spray Package Honored

Erik Swain

MedPointe’s Astelin Ready-Spray, winner of a 2004 Ameristar award.

Once a drug receives FDA approval, it rarely ever undergoes any kind of package redesign during its marketing life. MedPointe Pharmaceuticals (Somerset, NJ) bucked that trend, debuting in 2004 a more protective and user-friendly package for its Astelin Ready-Spray, a nasal antihistamine available since 1997. The company’s decision paid off, as the new package won a 2004 Ameristar award from the Insititute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) for excellent consumer product package design. MedPointe received the award in November at a ceremony held at the Pack Expo International Show in Chicago.

The original package contained two 17-ml bottles and a single spray pump. When the first bottle was finished, the user had to detach the spray pump and install it on the second bottle. This was not only inconvenient for the user, but put the product at more risk for contamination.

The reason for the original design, explained John Hawkins, MedPointe’s executive vice president, was that MedPointe’s original FDA application called for a single 17-ml bottle containing 100 sprays to be used once a day. The agency, however, decided that Astelin should be a twice-a-day therapy. Therefore, MedPointe had to double the amount of drug available, and the only way to do that without changing the primary package design (and thus delaying FDA approval) was to add a second bottle of the same size.

“Following the launch of Astelin, we made a decision to target certain areas of the package for improvement,” says Hawkins. “One was to select a bottle that was capable of 200 sprays. Another was to reduce overfill, which resulted from the bottles having flat bottoms. There was some wastage involved with the two 17-ml bottles. We also wanted to eliminate half-sprays that could occur when the bottle was almost empty.”

The new design accomplished all of those things. It consists of a single 30-ml bottle with a preassembled spray pump that the user no longer had to install, increasing ease of use and reducing potential for contamination. It has a V-shaped bottom that reduces wastage and eliminates half-sprays. (MedPointe received a patent for that design.) It reduces the overall packaging material used. And it allows the labeling to be displayed more prominently.

“The result was a more efficient package and pump assembly, and reduced cost,” says Hawkins.

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