Even Packaging Can Multitask - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Even Packaging Can Multitask
Interphex attendees found packaging machines and containers with increased functionality. This article contains online bonus material.

Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 6, Issue 34, pp. 34-36

Other innovations

Serialized identification, usually undertaken for traceability and distinguishing purposes, also can support interaction with consumers and sales-generating loyalty programs. Using a smart-phone application, field investigators and consumers can scan or enter the code on a package, authenticate the product, and track its history, potentially back to the raw materials used in the batch.

Scanning or inputting a code into a smart phone can authenticate product through Covectra's Brand Loyalty and Integrity Services. (PHOTO IS COURTESY OF COVECTRA)
For consumers, the code scan also can prompt the delivery of promotional information or connection to a chat function or customer service. Other possible loyalty-program services include instructions about how to take the product, dose reminders, and refill alerts. The smart-phone application and the associated software and services not only provide enhanced value to the consumer, but also link brand managers directly to consumers through dashboards that show data such as who purchased the product, where the product was purchased, and what price was paid. Deployable in 30 days without a large time commitment by corporate information-technology personnel, the software also can connect physicians and pharmacists to prescribing information (Brand Loyalty and Integrity Services, Covectra, Southborough, MA).

A staked-needle syringe with a tamper-evident closure eliminates contact between the drug and needle and offers a patient-friendly thin needle as heavy as 32 gauge. A specially designed seal keeps product from flowing into the needle until the needle shield is removed. Suitable for sensitive drugs, the syringe is free of leachables from adhesives and tungsten because the geometry of the glass barrel does not require tungsten in the glass-forming process. Domestic production is scheduled to begin before the end of 2010. The syringe is delivered with standard nests and tubs and can be filled on standard filling lines (Schott InJentle staked-needle syringe, Schott Pharmaceutical Systems, Lebanon, PA).

Another syringe-related development features a removable label for the latest version of a safety syringe. The peel-off part of the label can be stuck to the patient chart to provide a record of the injection (Needle-Trap syringe, Schreiner Medipharm, Blauvelt, NY).

A small, flat, four-side-sealed pouch dispenses unit doses ranging from less than 1 to 20 mL. A single dose of gel, cream, lotion, or ointment dispenses when the two ends are pressed together and the pouch snaps open along a score line. Because virtually no residue remains, overfill is not required to ensure a full dose. The structure of the pouch material varies, but it typically consists of a multilayer laminate with a layer of foil (Snap! package, Tapemark, West Saint Paul, MN). Options include a side-by-side configuration for two doses, a two-chamber setup for ingredients that can't be mixed until use and a design with a built-in applicator (Snap! Duet, Snap! Dual Chamber, and Snapplicator, Tapemark).

New polyester films from Klöckner Pentaplast provide an alternative to polyvinyl chloride in blister packaging. (PHOTO IS COURTESY OF KLÖCKNER PENTAPLAST)
A new blister-packaging option, polyester film, has been developed as a drop-in replacement to PVC. Compatible with the lidstock, equipment, and tooling used to produce PVC blisters, the polyester film offers equal or better thickness distribution, punches and perforates cleanly, and exhibits good lay-flat properties and brilliant clarity. Its tensile strength is 10% higher than that of PVC, and its elongation at break is 300% better. Its rigidity is a bit lower, and polyester blisters are expected to have a child-resistance rating at least equal to that of vinyl. A forming temperature that's about 15 °C lower than that of PVC saves energy and shortens cycle time. In addition, polyester's lower specific gravity results in higher yield. This 8% higher yield, potential for downgauging, and faster throughput offsets polyester's higher price, thus making the adoption of the chloride-free material essentially cost-neutral. Enhanced barrier properties can be achieved through lamination with Aclar or ethylene-vinyl alcohol or through coating with polyvinylidene chloride. Gauges range from 191 to 450 μm (Pentapharm kpVantage High-Performance Polyester Films, Klöckner Pentaplast, Gordonsville, VA).

Hallie Forcinio is Pharmaceutical Technology's Packaging Forum editor, 4708 Morningside Drive, Cleveland, OH 44109, tel. 216.351.5824, fax 216.351.5684,


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