Many drugs must be protected from moisture or oxygen exposure. Small canisters or pouches of a desiccant or oxygen scavenger
are usually used for protection. Integral protection can be provided by overmolding or comolding a polymer blend containing
an active agent. Capacity can be engineered to maintain a specific relative humidity; absorb moisture, oxygen, odors, and
gases; provide controlled release of vapors, gases, aromas, flavors, nutrients, and biocides; or engineer the transmission
rates of thin films ("Controlled Interactive Packaging," Owens-Illinois HealthCare Packaging).
A turn-key approach combines desiccants and scavengers, dispensing equipment, consulting services, and technical support to
optimize moisture or oxygen control to maximize the shelf life of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products ("Moisture Management
Analysis and Sorbent Solutions Program," Multisorb Technologies, Buffalo, NY,
Primary packaging and labeling
A print-registered, tear-initiation point simplifies opening a child-resistant 92-gauge polyester–foil laminate pouch or stick
pack and eliminates the need for a tear notch along with attendant material and tooling costs. The proprietary treatment makes
it possible to position the easy-tear area anywhere on the pouch or pack and register it with instructional print. The foil
laminate may be gravure printed in as many as eight colors (child-resistant, tear-open packs, Amcor Flexibles, Madison, WI,
A unit-dose delivery system for lotions, creams, and ointments features a tiny pouch with a foam applicator and flexographic
printing in as many as seven colors plus varnish. A simple squeeze dispenses product to the affected area. The first commercial
product, a 0.5-g facial exfoliant, specifies a seven-layer foil laminate, but various laminate structures and foams may be
used. Pouches are formed from a single web in 0.5- or 1-g sizes and filled on a custom machine. Frequent in-process testing
ensures good seal integrity ("DelPouch," Cardinal Health, Inc., Somerset, NJ,
Another small, foil laminate pouch is designed to hold a single thin-film strip medication and is used in a Theraflu product.
A chevron-shaped seal area occupies roughly 75% of the pouch area. Beyond the point of the chevron, the remaining pouch material,
which is tacked together at the outer corners, serves as pull strips for easy opening. A child-resistant design also is available
("DelStrip," Cardinal Health).
A service to help drug makers optimize blister designs takes into consideration all variables such as temperatures, pressures,
and material characteristics and can perform simulations to identify the packaging choices that are most likely to succeed
during stability testing. The analysis not only accelerates the design phase, but also may point out opportunities for barrier
and cost reduction. It also can aid in tooling design ("PentaPharm BlisterPro" design service, Klöckner Pentaplast of America, Inc., Gordonsville, VA,
A new polyvinylidene-chloride-coated polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or PVC–polyethylene runs more efficiently on thermoform-fill–seal
equipment because of better slip properties. The improved coefficient of friction is supplied by a polymer additive that alters
the surface morphology of the coating to reduce surface contact without changing barrier properties. As a result, the film
does not block on preheat plates and also denests faster to expedite filling rates for gel caps and other pharmaceuticals.
Available in clear and opaque white, the film is compatible with all standard vinyl-compatible lidstocks. Introduced last
year in Europe, the film has proven popular with contract packagers ("PentaPharm alfoil SG," Klöckner Pentaplast).
A closure that can be programmed for specific dosage regimens facilitates patient compliance by beeping and flashing when
a dose is scheduled to be taken. The compliance cap can be produced in various styles and diameters ("Remind Cap," Owens-Illinois