Reclosable Package Aims to Close the Book on Pharmacy Vials
NextPak can hold five or more blisters in a child-resistant package.
A new reclosable compliance package from One World Design & Manufacturing Group Ltd. (Warren, NJ) has passed child resistance and senior friendliness testing conducted by Perritt Labs. According to Marty Mason, director of marketing, packaging solutions, for One World, not one child was able to open the NextPak during testing, and all 20 seniors tested were able to. “Some of the seniors were able to open the package in less than 10 seconds,” he says.
Opening like a book does, NextPak is a reclosable package that can be designed to hold anywhere from one to several “pages” of blisters. Its child-resistant closure, however, makes this package act more like a diary with a lock. Users press the center of the closure and squeeze tabs on its sides to open the package. It can be filled manually or with the use of automation, which speeds manufacturing time because the need for gluing card stock is eliminated, says Mason.
“Packaging should be a useful part of the drug, and it should be meant to educate patients,” argues Mason. “Noncompliance has always been a huge issue,” he says. “To fight it, we need to consumerize the package, making it useful and friendly.”
One World has developed the package with several goals in mind: child resistance, senior friendliness, compliance support, and marketing and branding opportunities. “Patients are savvy consumers who are eager and ready for packaging that will make taking their medication easier, plus help them remember when to take it,” says Mason. “For the drug companies, the NextPak will act as an amber vial for their blister with these important distinctions—the NextPak gives marketing teams the opportunity to brand their package and packaging teams more time to design the blister and the materials that make up the blister.”
Mason adds that since the package is reclosable, pharmaceutical manufacturers can begin child resistance testing with an empty package, as opposed to having to test common F=1 packages with product. Blisters snap into the injection-molded case and stay securely in place, making the blisters and the NextPak each part of the primary package, says Mason. “Manufacturers can now use different, easier-to-open lidstock, because the NextPak provides the child resistance, not the blister.”
One World was recently recognized for another package by the Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council during the council’s annual Compliance Package of the Year competition. Barr Lab’s Seasonale package, developed by PharmaDesign Inc., was the first runner-up in the program. The non-child-resistant package holds a three-month supply of oral contraceptives.
PharmaDesign, a design firm in existence for 22 years, recently formed a venture partnership with EduScience, a 50-year-old toy design and manufacturing firm, to form One World Design and Manufacturing Group. This newly formed company will give the pharmaceutical industry a single source for design, prototyping, tooling, manufacturing, and delivery of custom pharmaceutical packaging. Mason reports that One World can customize NextPak through custom molds and colors, as well as help with tablet and blister design and package testing. The company is also devising ways to injection mold RFID tags into the package, along with talking devices and video screens. “Not only are we developing pieces that will address the compliance challenges of today, but we are thinking about tomorrow. Our goal is to help improve medical outcomes by designing and manufacturing consumer-friendly packaging that will have compliance features built in,” he says. Now in talks with packaging and marketing teams at seven of the top 10 pharma companies, he says that compliance “can only get better from here.”