Trends in Blister Materials and Compliance Packaging
Bud Ashmore, General Manager, Northeast for 3C! Packaging of Clayton, NC, an independent privately-owned pharmaceutical packaging solutions company, reports that the company has “done quite a bit of business in the physician’s samples sector with wallets, which are used in conjunction with blister film to create an economical, user friendly packaging solution. When compared with other sampling presentations, such as cartoned bottles or bottles with extended content labels, wallets offer substantial increases in billboard space to convey marketing messages and promote brand awareness. They also lend themselves well to inclusions of discount cards, promotional materials, pharmaceutical inserts, etc.
“Wallets also are an excellent choice for ensuring improved patient compliance with daily dosage requirements, particularly in instances where dosage may change throughout the course of a trial period,” he says. “And through the use of special die-cutting techniques and tear-resistant substrates, special features such as child-resistant, senior-friendly openings can be achieved.” 3C! Packaging designs and manufactures custom folding cartons, printed literature, inserts/outserts, labels, and unit-dose compliance packaging.
Cost pressures may drive some to consider alternatives. John Steenkamer, Business Manager – Pharmaceutical for Constantia Hueck Foils, says that “with cost pressure on the healthcare industry and a growing trend of brand products migrating to the generic and store brand categories, several cost out initiatives are underway. These initiatives not only focus on material selection and design, but on increasing packaging line efficiency.
“For example, where graphics have been provided by pre-printed, fold-over paperboard over the blister, surrogate two-side pre-printed blister foil eliminates a packaging component and improves line speeds. Similarly, where folding cartons have been a mainstay for external OTC packaging, paperbacked deep-cavity blisters are emerging with a dual shelving feature for peg hanging or racking.”
In terms of blister material selection, Angela Roggenhofer, Sales & Marketing Manager for Tekni-PLex Inc., reports an “ever-increasing interest in PVC-free films.” She says that “several large pharmaceutical manufacturers (both branded and generic) and key players in the medical device/diagnostics industry have approached us to this effect. Many, it seems, have long-range plans in place to move away from PVC altogether. Companies with business in Europe see this push as even more urgent, which is understandable given the comparably strict legislation regulating the disposal of pharmaceutical packaging, as well as technologically superior waste channels that seem to promote PVC-free materials.”
For no-barrier needs, Roggenhofer calls PET-based films “a great and very cost-effective solution. For the low- to mid-range barrier field, COC films and PET-based barrier laminations (with PCTFE – Aclar and VapoShield) apply, and PET/PCTFE are applicable for high-barrier requirements.” Tekni-Plex Inc. is a globally integrated company that develops and manufactures packaging materials.