Packaging Improves Compliance - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Packaging Improves Compliance
A decade of awards shows there's no lack of good ideas for compliance packaging.

Pharmaceutical Technology

As noted previously, the majority of compliance designs are based on blister cards. The "Helidac Therapy Kit" from Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals (Cincinnati, OH,, the winner of the 1997 Compliance Package of the Year award, simplifies the complex, multipill, frequent-cycle regimen used to treat the Helicobacter pylori infections responsible for most stomach ulcers. The kit organizes the regimen into 14 daily-dose blister cards, each divided into four, four-pill dosing units for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime. Each blister card contains eight round, pink bismuth subsalicylate tablets; four white, round, 250-mg metronidazole tablets; and four orange and white 500-mg tetracycline tablets. The design development is based on a packaging, education, reminders, and motivation concept created after the Helidac development team analyzed patient behavior.

The "Prempro/Premphase EZ DIAL" dispenser from Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, now Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (Collegeville, PA,, relies on a 28-count blister card housed inside a dispenser. It was recognized as the 1998 Compliance Package of the Year for its exceptional user-friendliness in delivering hormone replacement therapy to menopausal women.

Figure 1: The "Dosepak" design for once-per-week Actonel features a pull-out blister card and a fold-out panel for additional product information.
An increasingly popular version of blister-card compliance packaging is the wallet pack, which typically positions a blister card or cards in a paperboard folder. One winner in this style of compliance package is a wallet pack for a physician's titration-therapy sample of "Lamictal," an anti-epileptic drug from GlaxoSmithKline (Research Triangle Park, NC, The wallet pack is contract packaged in Clifton, New Jersey, by Caraustar Industries, Inc. (Austell, GA, Initially, Lamictal was packaged as a five-week regimen on four separate cards. The wallet pack assembles the same number of doses on one card that folds into a compact package. The arrangement of the medication, graphics, and instructions help physicians explain how to take the changing doses of medication.

The "Dosepak" design from MeadWestvaco (New York, NY, marries a folding carton with a blister card to deliver compliance, tamper evidence, child-resistance, and senior-friendliness (see Figure 1). A concept of this package design won the top prize in the HCPC competition in 2000. It featured a slim carton with a diecut tab that released a paperboard-encased blister card. The carton–card combination provides a large surface area on which to print dosage instructions.

Figure 2: The "Track Pack" blister card design simplifies dispensing of warfarin for pharmacists, clearly shows the proper dosage schedule, and provides a refill alert.
It didn't take long for the Dosepak to be adopted for an actual product. Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals chose the Dosepak design for the 35-mg dose of "Actonel," a once-per-week osteoporosis drug. It not only won the 2003 Health Care Compliance Package of the Year Award, but also won the Best of Show Award in the 2003 AmeriStar competition sponsored by the Institute of Packaging Professionals (Naperville, IL, and was a contender for the President's Award in the 2003 WorldStar Competition sponsored by the World Packaging Organisation (Stockholm, Sweden, The interior of the Actonel package offers more space than a bottle label to print three-step dosing instructions in type large enough to facilitate reading by postmenopausal women, the product's primary market. The four-tablet package also provides space for patients to mark the day of the week she chooses to take the once-per-week medication. An integral pocket holds additional information and protects it from damage.


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