How the Pharmaceutical Industry Benefits from Intelligent Packaging

Innovation in packaging technologies is key to success since it offers great opportunities to increase brand identity and customer loyalty. This also applies to the pharmaceutical industry, which is constantly growing: Between 2015 and 2020 the market for pharmaceutical packaging will increase by 8 percent. But still, this sector of the packaging industry, in particular, faces many challenges such as medication intake errors or counterfeit drugs. This is where intelligent packaging comes into play providing several benefits for pharmaceutical packaging.

pharmaceutical

Innovation in packaging technologies is key to success since it offers great opportunities to increase brand identity and customer loyalty. This also applies to the pharmaceutical industry, which is constantly growing: Between 2015 and 2020 the market for pharmaceutical packaging will increase by 8 percent. But still, this sector of the packaging industry, in particular, faces many challenges such as medication intake errors or counterfeit drugs. This is where intelligent packaging comes into play providing several benefits for pharmaceutical packaging.

How Does the Pharmaceutical Industry Benefit from Smart Packaging

Besides their protection and marketing functions, it is highly important that packages for pharmaceutical products provide concerning medicinal ingredients and the interaction of different medications. The following examples show how intelligent packaging can augment these functions.

Pharmaceutical Packaging with Time-Temperature Indicators

Many medications, which have to be stored at a certain temperature, otherwise they might not only become unusable but also dangerous for the patient’s health. Thanks to Intelligent packaging it is possible to create labels informing about a product’s temperature during the shipping process and storage so that doctors, pharmacists or patients can determine whether the drugs are safe to take or not.

Some time ago we already presented two exemplary solutions in a blog article relying on temperature sensitive intelligent ink and built-in temperature sensors, timers and activation triggers.

Pharmaceutical Packaging with NFC Tags

It is a matter of common knowledge that nobody really reads information leaflets in drug packages. Additionally, patients are not reliably adhering to prescriptions or forget to take their medicine. Therefore it is even more important that they receive enough information alternatively so that they know they are using the drug as intended. Near-field communication (NFC) could be a smart solution to deliver this information in an interactive way on the patient’s smartphones, for instance via video.

A current example for this is the collaboration between Jones Packaging Inc. and Thin Film Electronics ASA. Jones is the first folding carton converter to receive a “Preferred Converter” certification for the integration of Thinfilm’s NFC OpenSense tags in paperboard pharmaceutical packaging. These tags can wirelessly communicate with NFC-enabled smartphones, e. g. to transmit product states such as “factory sealed” or “opened”. Furthermore, the NFC tags can contain unique identifiers for authentication and tracking.

Other Applications of Intelligent Packaging

But there is more to it than this. Pharmaceutical packaging should also maintain the product’s environment in some cases. If this cannot be guaranteed, the drugs could release chemicals or bacteria. Smart packaging containing chemical or biosensors might display, whether the drugs are unsafe, spoiled or expired.

Do you know other examples of intelligent packaging solutions for the pharmaceutical industry? Please tell them to us in a comment below.