To Protect and Package - Pharmaceutical Technology

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To Protect and Package
Products at INTERPHEX focused on protection, compliance, and deterring counterfeiting. This article contains bonus online-exclusive material.


Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 33, Issue 5


Hallie Forcinio
From a packaging perspective, protection was the unofficial theme of INTERPHEX, held Mar. 17-19, 2009, in New York. Visitors found child-resistant packaging options to prevent children from gaining access to powerful drugs, compliance package designs to help patients take their medication properly, package components to prevent caregiver injuries, authentication technology to address counterfeiting and diversion problems, and systems to ensure product quality. Other innovations centered on boosting the efficiency of the packaging process.

Protecting caregivers and kids

An augmented syringe label prevents needlestick injuries and can be applied on standard pressure-sensitive labeling equipment with minor modifications. Already in use in Europe, the labels are printed as usual and run through an offline process to attach a small, bend-able plastic "catcher." During use, the caregiver moves the guard away, removes the cap over the needle, administers the injection, lets the guard fall back into place, and presses the needle on a flat surface so it bends into the guard. Caregivers like the design because it doesn't change the feel of the syringe, unlike other needlestick prevention technologies, which tend to result in a bulkier device (Needle Trap, Schreiner MediPharm, Blauvelt, NY).


(TETRA IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES)
Two wallet packs achieve an F=1 child-resistant rating with completely different technologies. Both patented designs are senior-friendly and compatible with manual and automated assembly. A large billboard area maximizes space for information such as brand elements and detailed dosing instructions to aid patient compliance.

One design relies on parallel stripes of adhesive to seal together front and back panels of solid bleached sulfate paperboard. Strategically placed die-cuts and perforations and a carefully registered Tyvek tear strip provide access to the proper dose (CRx Pack child-resistant wallet pack and contract packaging services, Carton Service-Packaging Insights, Norris, TN).

The other child-resistant wallet pack relies on a laminate of solid bleached sulfate paperboard-polyester-heat-seal coating and patented diecutting, which expedites access for adults, but not kids. Frequently used for clinical trials, the design is compatible with virtually any blister-card configuration (3C Pak, 3C Packaging, Clayton, NC).


We will be seeing more ...
A new paper-free child-resistant blister card lidding provides easy access for adults. The structure of printed foil-adhesive-polyester-adhesive-foil-heat-seal coating seals at lower temperatures than a conventional paper-polyester laminate, thus enhancing productivity while reducing the amount of heat exposure the product experiences. Eliminating the paper layer also reduces particulate contamination (easy-PIESY Lidding, Constantia Hueck Foils, Blythewood, SC).

A proprietary top web builds child resistance into various foil laminations used for slender stick packs, a format that is gaining popularity for over-the-counter pharmaceuticals and personal-care products such as unit-dose powders, liquids, and orally dissolving strips. The material can be printed in eight colors and tears easily at the tear initiation point, which can be positioned anywhere on the package and is identified by a printed indicator or text. A layer of 92-gauge polyester imparts high tear strength and puncture resistance. Building the tear feature into the laminate itself reportedly reduces the tooling and material costs associated with traditional notched or slit tear-opening features (Amcor SafeStick, Amcor Flexibles, Mundelein, IL).


The guard-equipped Needle-Trap label from Schreiner MediPharm does not add production steps.
Another lamination that builds an easy-opening feature into the stick-pack material relies on laser perforation technology. If necessary, the polyester-adhesive-foil-adhesive-polyethylene lamination can be designed for child-resistance (Stick-Packs with Laser-Perforation, Constantia Hueck Foils).

Innovative materials

A glassine material with a proprietary barrier coating offers a renewably sourced alternative to foil lidstock for blister cards. It also represents a 20% cost savings versus foil and seals to any blister material, including polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyethylene terephthalate glycol. It can be printed or tinted to impart brand identity or metallized for added barrier properties and aesthetics (Barrier glassine manufactured by Bilcare, Phoenixville, PA, marketed by CCL Label, Hightstown, NJ).


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