There Are Many Decisions to Make in Pharmaceutical Packaging


Did you know that as of 2012, the two highest selling drugs were Nexium and Lipitor, both claiming more than $5.272 billion in sales? Modern medicine has created a drug for almost every ailment, from Restless Leg Syndrome, to iron poisoning, and needless to say it is a huge industry. But have you ever wondered how the pills you get at the drugstore are packaged?

They come in so many different colors, styles, and containers, but it is not as if there is only one big manufacturer out there handling all of the packaging needs for every company. The reality is that pharmaceutical companies choose contract packaging services with specialized packing companies. Whether you are just casually interested in the behind-the-scenes world of packaging, or you work for a pharmaceutical company and are in need of packaging services, this brief guide will give you an idea of some of the options.

Pharmaceutical Blister Packaging

  • Blister Packaging
  • If you have ever taken pills from foil and plastic wrapped packages, and had to either peel back the foil or push the pill through it, then you have used blister packaging. It might seem like the process would take a very long time to complete, but blister packaging can be done at high speeds! These package formats can be customized further with different kinds of foil colors, child-resistant features, and even custom printing for lots and expiration information.

  • Carded Blister Packaging
  • A carded blister package is unique in that it provides the pharmaceutical product in conjunction with some information that will be helpful to the user. Dosing information, symptom tracking, and even coupons can be included in the packaging. Carded blister packaging is typically used when samples are provided to a physician for distribution to their patients, where it is helpful for there to be more information included than usual.

  • Bottle Packaging
  • Bottle packaging might make you think of pills, but powders and liquids can also be contained this way. Options for these containers mainly concern the type of cap that will be used, such as a snap off, child safe, or twist off top.

However, there is more to contract packaging services than just what kind of container is used. Before a drug goes to market, it must go through clinical studies to be found safe and effective, which is where clinical packaging and labeling come into play. Contract packaging could also focus on pouches for powders, tubes for creams and ointments, proper temperature control, accurate labeling, and ensuring patient compliance. With any kind of drug, these are all important considerations. There is an entire world of work, design, and technology that goes on around these drugs before your prescription or over the counter medications even make it to the store.

Which packaging service would be most helpful, or most interesting to you?