Pharmapack Europe  kicked off its patient-centered conference and exhibition on February 13 in Paris, promoting ideas and technologies for driving product safety and ease of use, patient compliance, and anticounterfeiting. Speakers at the conference urged attendees to consider the importance of packaging and labeling for effective product use.
“Patient safety is of paramount importance,” explained Philippe Arnaud, Hospital Pharmacist, Chief of Pharmacy Department Pharmacien - Hôpital Bichat-Claude Bernard AP-HP, ANSM Expert. He designated the “watchword” for the event as “patient safety.” Such an approach should be “the driving force behind new products.”
So for packaging design, the “user should be the focal point,” emphasized David Dronneau, Innovation & Technology head in R&D Clinical Supplies, Sanofi. “It must be patient centric.”
Patience compliance remains one particular challenge that packaging could tackle. “One out of two people don’t comply, whatever the disease,” said Dronneau. “Patient education is of fundamental importance,” he said. “If patients understand, they’ll comply.”
“If everyone took their medication at the right time, there would be huge improvement in the efficacy of pharmaceutical treatment,” added Arnaud.
And counterfeiting remains a threat, despite measures already taken in France, explained Arnaud. “There are few [counterfeit drugs] but I won’t say there are none. Packaging should allow patients to see whether there has been counterfeiting.”
Interestingly, safety features meant for child resistance can make it “difficult” for people to open products, explained Dronneau, recounting his own struggles to open a household product. “Usability is of fundamental importance.” He suggested that offering different packaging for different patient populations may better serve them, such as Advil has been made available in both child-resistant and non-child-resistant packaging in the United States. “I believe we’ll end up with customized packaging,” he said.
And product information is often “lacking on packaging and inserts,” added Arnaud, sharing a recent review of packaging.
“There is a great deal to do,” said Dronneau. “If the trend is for patients to spend as much time at home as possible, we need to enable them to take care of themselves at home and not in the medical setting.”
Olivier Bourbon, a clinical pharmacist serving pediatric patients, offered several ideas for improving packaging. “Clinical pharmacists want packaging that improves compliance” and makes the product “secure at home and hospital,” he said.
Bourbon says clinical pharmacists also want “unit doses for hospitals that include Data Matrix codes on units” that allow product traceability. “It has to be the industrialist that codes at the unit dose,” he said. He added that “repackaging” is “complicated” and can create “a lot of waste.” Packaging must also enable communication between physician and patient,” he said.
Packaging must also “make it sufficiently clear for the dispensing pharmacist, too,” Bourbon said, “avoiding confusion with other products” and providing information “in a large enough font for seniors to read.”
"Packaging must be discreet for patients,” he added. But there must not be “too much text,” he said. It could be “worse than the instructions for your cell phone that you never read,” he said.
“If you can deal with all that as well as regulation and beauty, you are the one the clinical pharmacist needs,” he said.
Progress may not be too far away. “We are moving in the right direction,” Dronneau said. “The packaging industry has a rosy future, as patients do as well.”
Arnaud is hopeful as well. “Packaging is the future,” he said. “Packaging enhances the value of a drug.”
Packaging technology providers spoke throughout the day about their own solutions to such challenges, in the following sessions:
Counterfeit of pharmaceutical products – challenges and solutions
Dieter Mößner, Team Leader Customer Service, Edelmann Graphic Services
The design process of patient-centric packaging - from concept to production
Cindy Haast, Business Development Manager, Burgopak Healthcare & Technology
Better instructions for better devices - Synergy development of devices and patient instructions
Rob Veasey, Senior Medical and Scientific Manager, DCA Design International Biography;and Matthew Jones, Medical and Scientific Manager, DCA Design International Biography
Smart dispensers for dynamic treatment & patient compliance
Dr. Rolf Eilers, Managing Director, Balda Medical GmbH & Co. KG Germany
Improving safety and performance in parenteral devices and packaging
Isabelle Delcroix, Global Category Manager, Rexam Healthcare
It’s just packaging
Andy Fry, Founder, Team Consulting Limited
New generation of cost effective pre-filled syringes (PFS) for generics and biosimilars
Weill David, CEO, Primequal SA
Trends in Parenteral Packaging and the application of QbD-principles to Primary Packaging Development and Manufacturing
Sascha Karhöfer, Manager Injectable Container Closure Solutions Platform Europe, West Pharmaceutical Services GmbH & Co. KG
Clinical validation of a new 50ml prefilled syringe: human factors and compatibility with the existing hospital equipment
Dragana CVIJANOVIC, Product Manager Europe Acute Care, BD Medical - Pharmaceutical Systems
Multilayar vial and syringe with oxygen absorbing resin
Shun Ogawa, Senior Researcher, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc.
Case Study Prontosan Wound Gel X: Novel PP Polyfoil Tubes for Autoclaving (Terminal Sterilization)
Martina Christiansen, Head Sales & Marketing Pharmaceutical, Hoffmann Neopac AG
Daikyo Crystal Zenith prefillable syringe system - New manufacturing process combines advantages of silicone-free and break-resistant packaging
Dr. Nicolas Brandes, Product Manager Daikyo Crystal Zenith Europe, West Pharmaceutical Services Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG Biography
Dr. Judith Maczek, Project Manager, Vetter Pharma-Fertigung GmbH & Co. KG Biography
Case Study: achieve a “zero defects” production of glass primary packaging innovating the design of manufacturing primary packaging process
Alessandro Morandotti, R&D Glass Division Technical Customer Care, Nuova Ompi, Stevanato Group
Intelligent Automatic Process Optimisation - Online Quality Prediction based on parts features
Dr. Philipp Liedl, technical director, STASA Steinbeis Angewandte Systemanalyse GmbH Biography
Sebastien Baccou, Plastics Application Engineer, Kistler France Biography
Editor’s note: The above-quoted Pharmapack Europe speakers presented in French, so these quotations have been translated into English--Daphne Allen