Editorial

Repackaging Leads to More Repackaging—and Frustration

It is difficult to watch one’s own parents grow older, and it is even harder to see them falter. Witnessing my mother divide her medications into a weekly pill organizer and then get a little disorganized recently left me worried and wishing for a better solution.

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100% Labeling Accuracy: Are You Wondering, Too?

Of all of your packaging responsibilities, labeling probably gives you the most pause. And rightfully so. A search of FDA’s Web site just under “Medical & Radiation Emitting Device Recalls” using the keyword “labeling” yielded 50 recalls so far this year. Many of 2010’s recalls for labeling were the result of the wrong label or product code being applied to a package, resulting in mislabeling. In one recall this summer, “products with an expiration date of August 2009 were labeled with an expiration date of May 2013.

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Global Needs Hitting Home

A change in the climatic zones as defined by the International Committee on Harmonization has gradually made its way to U.S.-based drug manufacturers. In late 2005, ICH advised that stability conditions for Zone IVa (Tropical Dry) be changed to 30°C/65% relative humidity and for Zone IVb (Tropical Wet) changed to 30° C/75% relative humidity.

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Balancing Passenger and Cargo Security

I listened to an informative roundtable courtesy of American Airlines Cargo on the upcoming 100% Air Cargo Screening Mandate, which becomes law on August 1, 2010. All cargo to be shipped on passenger airplanes will need to be screened before it is loaded. The law is to “ensure the safety of those passengers above that cargo,” explained Doug Brittin, general manager, air cargo, Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

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Scaling Noncompliance

Can you make following a drug regimen just as much fun for patients as taking the stairs? Volkswagon’s awards program, The Fun Theory (www.thefuntheory.com), recognizes that “fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better.”

Visit the site and you’ll enjoy watching the “Piano Staircase.” No one likes taking the stairs, but add a melody and people will scale them with a smile. (I thank Jonathan Richman (www.doseofdigital.com) for calling out this behavior changer out on Twitter under @jonmrich).

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Counterfeits Continue to Plague Patients

Reports of fake influenza treatments and other pharma crimes continue. Could the coming flu season and a weak economy make the pandemic worse?

FDA reports that federal agencies have come across contaminated, counterfeit, and subpotent influenza products. “FDA, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, has intercepted products claimed to be generic versions of the influenza drug Tamiflu, but which actually contained vitamin C and other substances not shown to be effective in treating or preventing influenza,” the agency reports.

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Risky Business

Any discussion of healthcare invariably brings up cost. Everyone from patients to insurance companies to doctors to hospitals (from payer to payee to practitioner) is struggling to get a handle on spiraling costs.

Our annual look at key healthcare packaging trends is no different. Cost control is cited by a number of packaging professionals re­sponding to our annual trends survey. Even packaging suppliers are watching their budgets. The good news is that as these vendors strive to control their own costs, they will be passing the savings on to you.

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Building Relationships with Consumers

I’d like to give a shout out to my fellow editor Christiane Truelove, editor-in-chief of Med Ad News and R&D Directions, who reported live from the Healthcare Communication & Marketing Association’s June 2009 event, The Family. She shared speaker presentations via Twitter, and my cell phone kept beeping with her tweets all morning. I felt like I was there!

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Practice Good Shipping

 

If you ship products along the cold chain, you need to consider more than just packaging. You need to look closely at the chain itself. And that includes your shipping partners.

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Locking in Global Product Security

Global supply chains demand sealed and secure packaging that can be identified down to the item. The last report we have had from the FDA Counterfeit Drug Task Force (www.fda.gov/counterfeit/) is from June 2006. So does that mean there is no counterfeiting news to report?

Not in the least!

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