Traditionally, pharma packaging was considered an extension of the manufacturing process. After packaging, the product would be shipped to its destination and stored in a warehouse until shifted. High inventory costs were inescapable and managing fluctuating demand, and damage to stored items was difficult.
However, the landscape has completely changed with the advent of postponement packaging. The benefits of installing packaging further down in the supply chain are greatly appealing, especially for pharmaceuticals. The cost of moving products comes down, and you redirect focus on your core manufacturing processes and less on managing inventory of goods at various warehouses across various locations, today we operate with buffer stocks at key locations.
And it’s not just its place on the supply chain that has changed. Packaging itself now involves considering a myriad of solutions and options on graphics, leaflets and custom design for specific markets. Traditionally, low cost design and quick time-to-market were the driving features for packaging medicines but design and efficiency have now taken a bigger role. Newer packaging methods prevent spoilage, movement of counterfeit drugs, and even medication errors by patients. They also ensure patients adhere to taking their medication properly.
Here are just some features that are being developed and are sure to make a huge impact on pharmaceutical packaging:
- Freshness indicators. These are clear signals about the condition of a product. Using these, suppliers will be able to ensure integrity and quality of a product to the customer. Wastage is reduced and nearly eliminated, and there is a direct impact on the entire supply chain.
- Temperature monitors: Temperature indicators will either show the current temperature or respond to a pre-set threshold. Be able to prevent temperature control failure on important items such as life-saving medication with wireless sensors embedded into packaging.
- Traceability functions: Near-field Communication (NFC) technology, which relays data through contactless reading by smartphones, adds high informational value to all steps of the supply chain. The integration of NFC tags in pharma packaging (such as through smart cards in caps) means that identification and recognition is automated and simplified and tracking data is uploaded onto the Cloud automatically.
- Go smart: Beyond tracking, pharmaceutical packaging is getting smart. Smart packaging means packets record when tablets are removed from the strip so that patient adherence to a course of treatment is closely monitored. Smart packaging also connects to the patient’s wireless device so they can access clear and straightforward instructions by voice or on screen. They will be able to set timers on when to take a drug and even have their follow-up questions, which they often forget to ask during a hurried and short consultation, answered. And patient compliance does matter. The top complaint among doctors is that patients do not follow treatment recommendations, and smart packaging can positively affect and even reduce the repercussions of this.
- Biosensors: Biosensors are devices that detect the presence of chemicals, which will be used to detect contaminating bacteria for instance. They will be able to also pick up on a product’s surroundings and offer alerts. If the environment is damaging, the drugs can be moved before they are spoiled or become unsafe.
- Fight fakes: You can prevent fraud and counterfeit by smart packing which will include holograms, photochromic inks, IR and UV bar codes, computer scrambled imaging, electromagnetic ink and more.
As evident, the trend is towards a more patient-centric approach but will benefit the entire supply chain. As a supplier, you will enjoy greater brand identity, customer satisfaction and loyalty. The importance of smart packaging in the healthcare sector is unparalleled and we are keen to share the benefits with our pharmaceutical clients.
If you are considering shifting your primary or secondary packaging needs to our facility in Panama Pacifico, the best place to begin is to understand your own costs when it comes to moving products. Where is your demand located and what are the landed costs associated? It is initially a complex undertaking, and many companies are reluctant to engage with the investment needed for digitization and changes in operation. But we can make the transition smoother with our experience in Intra-Hospital logistics services and close ties with healthcare facilities. As we handle the supply chain from product to patient, on site secondary packaging makes sense for our organization and has actually simplified the business processes of our clients. We are versed in regulations, languages, with processes to ensure compliance and specific needs of our customers. Our consultants have an in-depth knowledge of regional market requirements and can help you understand the demand picture. Drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you and guide you on how to proceed.