The pharmaceutical packaging market

Size, trends, obstacles, opportunities and predictions
Nov 01, 2009


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According to a survey conducted by Pharmaceutical Technology Europe (PTE), almost 50% of you believe that cost is the biggest limiting factor to innovation in the pharmaceutical packaging industry, while regulations were also thought to present a major hurdle to new development, accounting for almost two-thirds of the remaining votes. 1 The pharmaceutical industry recognizes the importance of good packaging design, in particular because of the continuing pressure to aid patient compliance, meet regulatory demands, and increase a brand's life and appeal; however, manufacturers must also innovate while improving efficiency and adapting to the growing threat of drug counterfeiting. Added to the pressure is also the emphasis that is being placed on green manufacturing methods and the need to be more environmentally responsible. In a separate survey conducted by PTE, an overwhelming 85% of respondents believed that the pharmaceutical industry needs to adopt greener approaches to packaging. 2 But in this highly regulated industry, is this achievable? PTE enlisted the help of industry experts to bring you a clear picture of the pharmaceutical packaging industry today. In this special feature we aim to provide some insight into where the industry is heading, what opportunities exist, and what hurdles will need to be overcome to achieve success in this highly competitive market.


Table 1: World pharmaceutical packaging market size ($ million).
The global market for pharmaceutical packaging is set to reach $62.3 billion by 2013, with the US expected to continue its domination of the market; accounting for 28% of packaging sales (Table 1).3 Of all geographic regions, Asia-Pacific is set to experience the strongest growth rate, with China being the biggest driver to growth in the region, and predicted to growth at an annual growth rate of 11.5%.

Developing economies set for strong growth

"The developing economies will experience the highest growth rates in the coming years for several reasons, the main reason being the increasing availability of low cost generic drugs," said Bill Martineau, analyst at The Freedonia Group (publishers of World Pharmaceutical Packaging 3 ). "The use of drug therapy to compensate for deficiencies in healthcare delivery systems will also stimulate growth in these regions," he added.

According to Martineau, growth in the global market will be sustained by the increasing use of higher value packaging systems that: promote improved patient compliance; reduce the risk of counterfeiting and drug diversion; eliminate the risk of medication dispensing errors; support upgraded infection prevention standards in healthcare facilities; and provide a means of differentiating multiple source generic drugs.

"Growth in the Chinese pharmaceutical packaging market will be driven by the phasing in of pharmaceutical GMP standards, on par with the developed economies. This will necessitate an extensive upgrade of pharmaceutical packaging systems," explained Martineau. Elsewhere, India is expected to experience strong growth, owing to the expansion of the proprietary and generic drug markets. "Patent expirations and the increasing availability of generic drugs will also boost pharmaceutical production and related packaging demand in Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Poland and South Korea," he added.