The demographic factor also plays a role in the demand for senior-friendly pharmaceutical packaging. As age increases, so does the need for medications.
In Germany alone, patients over the age of 80 take 4 to 5 different medicines every day. However, opening and resealing their pharmaceutical packaging and correctly dosing the medicine often presents challenges for many patients with age-related vision impairments or muscle weakness. But the development of pharmaceutical packaging for seniors is moving forward, and the industry has recognized the need for age-appropriate packaging. The discussion about generic drugs and increasing online trade have contributed to this.
“Demographic change in particular reinforces the need for age-appropriate packaging and requires a rethinking in product development. Packaging, for example, should have a supportive effect and not present obstacles for consumers. It is not only for seniors that the handling of the packaging is decisive for the repurchase of a product,” explains the packaging company Pöppelmann.
Better legibility of the instructions for use through appropriate printing, easy-to-use closures and packaging with intelligent or smart technologies are now more common in pharmaceutical packaging. Manufacturers offer different solutions. For example, the packaging industry is also focusing on digitization and automation to enable individual treatments with personalized medicine. Filling and packaging even the smallest batch sizes requires a high degree of flexibility, which is made possible by automated workflows.
“We focus on innovative pharmaceutical packaging that helps patients to take their medication in line with their therapy,” Edelmann says. The firm integration of package inserts into the pharmaceutical folding carton also ensures greater adherence to therapy, the company adds. Screens implemented in packaging show dosage forms, manufacture, application, and effect of the drug.
Blister machines are increasingly being used to fill and package small quantities of individual tablet mixtures in the required dose and assign them to an individual data set. Here, the drug is tailor-made for the patient and packaged airtight in a hygienic string of pouches. The labeling and systematic filing of the individual weekly doses prevents mix-ups. In addition to making work easier for nurses, doctors, and pharmacists, packaging materials are also saved and packaging waste reduced.
Example: Screw caps
Up to now, screw caps have mainly been part of the packaging for ointments. However, these are often difficult to open for people with limited mobility. The pharmaceutical company GSK has therefore launched a new product, “Voltaren Easy to Open Cap”. It was awarded the German Packaging Prize 2020 by the German Packaging Institute. The developed cap is easy to open with one hand. “The opening tab is clearly identifiable through the use of a second color and can also be used very easily and comfortably with one finger thanks to the use of a soft “soft-touch” material. In addition, the closure still has a tamper-evident feature and can be used on existing filling lines,” the jury explained.