Major Pharma Packaging Trends in 2018
Personalized Medicines, Intelligent Packaging and Regulatory Deadlines
Trade shows are excellent places to learn more about the state of an industry. Last month Pharmapack Europe offered a firsthand look at some of the changes and new trends that are shaping the drug industry — including new serialization technologies and new processing equipment to handle the novel biological formulations and personalized medicines that are becoming more prevalent in today’s market. In a media debate experts discussed upcoming trends in the industry, focusing on smart and intelligent packaging, the increasing role that the internet has on the industry, and the potential implications of upcoming regulatory changes.
As personalized medicines become increasingly prominent in today’s industry, Phillipe Arnaud, head of Pharmacy department at Bichat-Claude Bernard Hospital, stated his believe that customer feedback will be at the forefront of pharma packaging in the future. He envisaged that with social media sites patients can write feedback to companies about certain aspects of the packaging or device that they may not like. Companies can then utilize this raw data, which can lead to a quicker evolution of new packaging with the opinion of the patients in mind.
In contrast to this, Pascale Gauthier from the Pharmacy faculty at Auvergne University argued that although the internet can bring benefits, it will raise problems, such as those with counterfeiting. Many people are so busy that they may not have time to see a doctor and so they are increasingly turning to the internet for their medicine; most of these, however, are counterfeited products, something which may become an increasing problem in 2018.
With the impending FMD/DSCSA deadlines in mind, Lionel Jeannin from Novartis Pharma commented that the potential impacts on manufacturing lines are vast, as companies must adapt their processes to the changes. It is a huge program to put in place and he imagines there will be a scramble for last-minute changes in the latter half of the year as companies that haven’t put plans in place for the deadlines are looking to catch up. He added that he doesn’t foresee the impending deadlines significantly impeding the drugs supply pipeline.
All of the participants agreed that there was a need for information on drugs – such as leaflets – to become more accessible to patients.
They suggested there are technologies available to do this, highlighting that intelligent packaging was likely to see a lot of investment in the coming years. However, they also said that the industry shouldn’t rush into implementing these technologies as some therapies may raise questions of overstepping the boundaries of privacy, such as doctors tracking drugs to see whether patients have taken their recommended dosage.