Cost effective packaging innovations taking centre stage in Indian pharma industry

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Adoption of innovative technologies in pharmaceutical packaging is on the rise as compared to few years back with pharmaceutical industry honchos introducing innovative, cost-effective packaging solutions to cater to the needs of patients.

Companies such as Takeda Pharmaceuticals India, Alembic Pharmaceuticals, West Pharmaceuticals India, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Mankind Pharmaceuticals, Signode India have come up with innovative packaging solutions addressing the needs of consumers in a cost effective manner. The innovative packaging solutions were discussed by packaging heads from the companies at CPhI’s 7th Annual Innopack Pharma Confex held in Mumbai last week.

Said Barun Dey, director packaging development, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, “We have introduced packaging innovation considering patients’ needs. To make it easy for consumers in rural settings to repurchase Met Small 500 mg tablet, used to control high blood glucose levels, we have printed brand name of product name on top of the pack in such a way that it remains visible on the pack till last tablet is taken. A significant population residing in rural India hardly remember name of the product. In absence of prescription, they find it difficult to repurchase the medicine once it gets consumed. Consumers often have difficulty in cleaning measuring cups because of its rounded corner shapes. Uncleaned cups cannot be used again because of contamination. We have redesigned the cups making it easier for people to clean with fingers.”

Dwelling further on packaging innovation, Dey said “After 2-3 uses, label of cough syrup bottle starts peeling off and sugar often gets chocked up in the bottle. Packaging has been resigned to avoid these issues.”

Echoing Dey’s view, Anahita Karande, head- packaging development and Procurement, Alembic Pharmaceuticals said “Innovation arises from the need of market. We have given colour band to measuring cup so that liquid in the cup can be seen red, yellow colours which incite child to take the liquid immediately. The colour band also makes sure that marks such as 2.5 ml, 3 ml are visible in the cup to help patients comply with treatment regimen.”

To prevent counterfeiting of our one of the top brands- Azithral, used in the treatment of bacterial infections and typhoid fever, we have developed holographic PVC along with our partners. It also gives product differentiation in the market, she said.

Alagu Subramaniam, managing director- India, West Pharmaceuticals India, said “We have come up with AccelTRA programme focusing on primary packaging solutions for generic injectables. It provides customised solutions to generic consumers in a lead time of six weeks to help them launch products in market faster.”

Talking about automation adding value to secondary and tertiary pharma packaging, Sameer Chandawadkar, senior manager, automation sales, Signode India, said “We have been focusing on no touch solutions on end of the line of operations of pharmaceutical industry wherein there will be minimal interference by human making product error free. We are working on automation of secondary packaging right from the primary packaging inspection, case packing, palletising, automatic warehousing solution. All US FDA approved plants are mandatory to have minimal possible touch for their products.”

Ashok Kumar Bhattacharya, executive director/country manager, Takeda Pharmaceuticals India, said “Innovation in pharma packaging is happening quiet late as compared to consumer industry. Innovation in pharma packaging makes product stands out in genericized market and helps generic companies make big brand. The idea of packaging innovation drives from patient centricity which helps industry wipe away negative image it has today. Innovative packaging helps ensuring drug stability in the wake of temperature fluctuations. It helps meet stakeholders’ expectations.”

Soumyanath Mishra, head-packaging development, Mankind Pharmaceuticals said “Generic drug makers, seized of cutting down product cost, often pay least attention to packaging. One can not make good product in bad packaging. There are cases of failure of generic drugs’ stability despite using innovators’ packaging. We have to consider optimised packaging rather coping innovators’ packaging.”

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