Striving for Best-In-Class

Suppliers commercialize creative new solutions under right-the-first-time imperatives.

As they emphasize continuous improvement in manufacturing, packaging suppliers have allocated capital for equipment following market trends and developed new packaging solutions.

Contract packagers have expanded services for pharmaceutical manufactures reaping or evaluating the benefits of outsourcing. They have invested in bottle and blister lines, syringe packaging, kitting solutions, clinical trials services, and platforms for track and trace.

Pharma customers have favored more elaborate designs for sample packaging to help patients understand the medication and target doctors with tailored promotional messages. In trade packaging, compliance formats gained traction with prescription and OTC treatments including malaria, high blood pressure, anti-viral, smoking cessation, and over-active bladder.

Sanofi Aventis tapped Burgopak Healthcare and Technologies’ slider pack design for Maalox Plus and the pain med DolipraneLib (paracetamol). In new designs, Keystone Folding Box Co. ( and Legacy Pharmaceutical Packaging announced the Ecoslide-RX offering a compact portable format made from 100% recyclable material.

Pharma manufacturers and contract packagers are analyzing patient behavior to develop multiple customized SKUs to cover a spectrum of needs. Catalent Pharma Solutions emphasizes a tailored approach with its Adherence by Design (AbD) program derived from the QbD concept for pharma manufacturing. In AbD, package development starts early in the drug development stage for building features tailored to a therapeutic class.

New studies provided re-enforcing evidence of compliance packaging’s value.

Catalent and Meadwestvaco each reported on studies using retrospective analysis of patient claims data that showed increased patient persistence with prescriptions packaged in compliance-prompting designs.

Anderson Packaging ( will launch within six months the first commercial application of its IntuiPac, a discretely portable card-in-sleeve format, pending NDA approval of a brand prescription drug using the format for trade packaging, says Justin Schroeder, senior director, marketing and development services.

The child-resistant feature in IntuiPac is provided by the blister card, where the push-through force is tailored to resist children while affording easy access by adults. CR is further supported by multiple layers of board that provide tear resistance.

In addition, the contract packager’s proprietary AssuraDose format has gained first time adoption—for sample packaging of two prescription drugs awaiting NDA approval. Assembled on the same equipment used for MWV’s Dosepak, the F-1 rated carded blister in a sleeve is opened by pinching the outer sleeve with one hand and removing the blister with the other.

“We have been pretty excited about how quickly these formats came to market from concept to commercialization. People are taking a much stronger look at compliance designs for samples and trade packaging,” Schroeder says, adding that Anderson’s IntuiDose format is being adopted for over five new NDA products in physician sample/starter pack formats in the coming months.

Anderson works on over 50 new products a year, Schroeder says, packaging in designs including Keystone Folding Box’s ( Key-Pak and Key-Pak Plus, Howell Packaging’s ( CR III, Nosco’s ( Key-In, and MWV’s ( Dosepak, Shellpak, and Perfpac.

In clinical trials services, Catalent Development and Clinical Services became the number two global provider of the clinical services with the acquisition of Aptuit’s clinical trials supply business, expanded capacity in the United States and Germany for storage of controlled substances, and announced a global network of specialists for comparator drug sourcing directly from manufacturers.

For U.S.-based prescription development services, Almac opened a new North American headquarters in Pennsylvania, while doubling prescription development services capacity at its Craigavon, UK, facility.

Since AndersonBrecon Clinical Services’s U.S.-based clinical trial services opened for commercial production in the first quarter, the trials services business has been hiring substantially to support growth in the Europe and the United States, says Schroeder. “We’ve had some fairly sizeable Phase II studies awarded recently,” he adds.

Three packaging suites in a new 35,000-sq-ft potent compound facility support packaging of SafeBridge-rated compounds such as cytotoxins and hormonal products. “On the clinical side, there may be uncertainty as to compounds’ potency, so from a risk management perspective, there may be situations where products will be packaged in that environment,” Schroeder says.

As suppliers are pressured to strengthen service levels and improve production processes to keep costs in check, they have expanding capabilities and efficiencies through acquisitions. The year was marked by brisk M&A activity.

A new force emerged in contract packaging with the formation of Aphena Pharma Solutions, an alliance of four manufacturing and contract packaging companies: Celeste Contract Packaging, PrePak Systems, TestPak, and Integrated Pharmaceutical Packaging. Aphena is investing in expanded bottling capacity, package design services, and retail-ready tertiary packaging services, while infusing best cGMP practices at its new component businesses throughout the company.

Clondalkin Group continued to build out its pharma and healthcare packaging portfolio with the acquisition of Catalent’s U.S.-based printed components business. Chesapeake Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Packaging added to its U.S. and global supply network with the acquisition of leaflet and labels producer Cortegra Group from Menasha Corp. And in bottles and closures, Alpha Packaging absorbed Progressive Plastics and Mold-Rite Plastics.


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