Did you know that there are approximately 3,732 approved drugs out of a total number of 12,000?
Some of these drugs are used by more than 145 million US citizens who suffer from chronic diseases. If the wrong drugs get to the wrong people, the health consequences can be catastrophic. That’s why pharmaceutical packaging is very important.
In the simplest terms, the packaging of pharmaceutical products refers to properly wrapping and containing pills, liquids, and medication in other forms. This process is important for a wide variety of reasons. Keep reading to find out why.
The Important Role of Pharmaceutical Packaging
The simple box your bottle your pills came in might appear insignificant, but it’s specially designed by experts to serve multiple purposes. For example:
1. Containment of Product
Medication is designed to help people by healing their ailment or stopping it from becoming worse. However, we all know that some pills can also harm if they are taken in very high quantities. That’s because they contain substances and chemicals which can become dangerous if not taken properly.
That’s why pharmaceutical companies design a special type of packaging which prevents leakage and spilling. These packages prevent the active substances in medication from getting into your food or hands when handling the product. Proper containment of drugs can save lives.
2. Maintains Drug Quality
At the same time, it’s also a well-known fact that drugs don’t last forever. Some of them can expire after a year, two, five or even ten years. However, an important role in maintaining the quality of the product is proper packaging.
For example, if you keep some yogurt out of the fridge for a day, it will lose its properties and become rancid. If you keep it in the fridge, it can last for a week or two, maybe even more. The same story is true for medication. If properly contained by the packaging and kept in appropriate conditions (in a dark and dry place), it will last much longer.
If the packaging is damaged or broken, the quality of the drug and its effectiveness will be greatly diminished.
3. Contains Important Storing and Dosage Information
Pharmaceutical packaging is also important when it comes to informing the buyers about the ingredients and dosage of a particular drug. For example, the package can contain details such as taking 2 pills a day for 1 month or a broad explanation of the adverse effects caused by this medication.
If the packaging of pills is done carelessly, patients might never know how to take the drugs. This can lead to under or overdosage which can be fatal in some cases.
4. Protecting Against External Damaging Factors
There is a wide variety of external factors which can damage a blister of pills or a bottle of cough syrup. Some of these factors are biological, others are mechanical. Keep in mind that drugs are shipped from the factory to pharmacies in trucks. If they are not properly packed, these drugs can be easily damaged by shocks, vibrations, improper handling, etc.
At the same time, drugs are designed to be protected against other factors such as moisture, insects, pests, rodents, etc. Despite that, the patient still has to do everything in his power to keep his drugs away from such damaging factors, thus minimizing the chance of damage.
5. Preventing Children Access
Kids are naturally curious and overreaching. They feel very comfortable when it comes to grabbing things, putting them in their mouth, and moving on to the next toy. This is not good when it comes to medications and drugs.
Some blisters or bottles containing pills are specially designed to prevent small children from opening them. This design acts as a secondary protection measure, the primary one being keeping drugs away from kids’ reach. In this particular case, the packaging of pharmaceutical products can prevent overdosing, accidents, injuries, and even death among children of all ages.
Some of the protective mechanisms employed by companies which manufacture drugs include tear-resistant packaging. In other words, the packaging cannot be ripped by kids, whether by hands or teeth. Other mechanisms include turn and push bottles which are much harder to open. Some pharmaceutical packaging includes overwrappers and locking mechanisms which can only be opened by doing a certain maneuver.
6. Appealing to Target Market
You might be happy to find out that pharmaceutical packaging also plays a vital role when it comes to enticing customers to buy the product. This design is done with marketing reasons in mind.
For example, some pills packaging might feature the brand colors of the company making the drug. This creates a sense of unity and integrity, making the product easily recognizable. Another type of packaging might feature pictures of kids or people of elderly age, helping buyers understand right away whom the product is designed for.
If we talk about herbal products, they might contain pictures of certain plants or exotic fruits with medicinal properties. In all these cases, the pharmaceutical packaging serves both practical and decorative purposes.
7. Passing FDA Rules
Pharmaceutical packaging is not done at random by companies, without being supervised by higher authorities. The FDA closely monitors the packaging of drugs and pills, looking for errors in the design and manufacturing process.
There are several key elements which must be incorporated into the design of pharmaceutical packaging. For example, the dosage should be clearly visible as well as the product quantity and usage instructions. The benefits of the drug should also be listed together with the consequences of not taking the drug. The adverse reactions should also be detailed and included somewhere in the packaging or label.
What’s Your Opinion on Pharmaceutical Packaging?
As you can see, pharmaceutical packaging is more complex than you probably thought before. This is done to protect the health of the buyer and provide valuable information regarding their safety and well-being.
What’s your experience with the packaging of pharmaceutical products? Have you discovered manufacturing defects? Post your opinion below, so that others can learn from your experience.