Packaging and delivery systems as a differentiator for drug products will continue to become more important, especially in
crowded therapeutic areas and for solving industrywide problems such as drug-product counterfeiting. The market today is receptive
to packaging systems that can provide track-and-trace capabilities and product authentication throughout the supply chain.
Pharmaceutical seals are an ideal platform for these technologies. We can expect to see wider use of technologies such as
radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags embedded in the plastic button affixed to the seal or ultraviolet inks applied
to the seal. RFID has the potential to provide item-level security that can help secure the supply chain.
The drive for cleanliness and purity will no doubt continue into the foreseeable future. With advances in material science,
we can expect cleaner elastomeric formulations for manufacturing primary packaging and delivery-system components. We also
can expect coatings with near-total barrier properties. Processing aides such as silicone oil will be eliminated and quality
levels will approach a zero-defects standard.
As the great Yogi Berra said, "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." But we, as package component
and drug administration system manufacturers, can make one prediction with confidence: As pharmaceutical research continues
to develop advanced, life-saving therapies, the systems used to package and administer those therapies will keep pace through
advances in material science and innovative design.
Fran DeGrazio is the vice-president of marketing and strategic business development at West Pharmaceutical Services, 101 Gordon Dr., Lionville,
PA 19341, tel. 610.594.3190, fax 610.594.3325, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where were you 30 years ago?
Fran DeGrazio entered the industry in 1983 by working for six months at Pierce and Stevens Chemical Corp. before joining West
Pharmaceutical Services. She has been with West ever since, serving various functions in the analytical laboratory, research
and development, and customer technical support areas as well as being vice-president of quality assurance (Americas) and
director of the regulatory group. In 2006, she assumed her current role.