The start of a new year is a suspended time between sheets and forecasts. As manufacturers of pharmaceutical packaging, and of ophthalmic pharmaceutical packaging in particular, we believe it is essential to be able to read market trends and reflect on how we can use them to best meet the needs of our corporate customers.
So here are 5 pharmaceutical packaging trends for 2024:
- Eco-sustainability: the goal is to enhance functionality and eco-compatibility, in line with companies’ sustainability objectives. The ‘hot’ topics are the adoption (when feasible) of recycled plastics and the virtuous recovery of packaging at the end of the use cycle, not only with regard to pharmaceuticals but also medical devices (Johnson & Johnson’s famous case with Acuvue contact lenses, which led to the recycling in the UK of around 8 million contact lenses, blisters and aluminum protective sheets). The latest ‘Eco’ trend even includes biodegradable materials such as plant-based plastics and compostable films. These materials have a lower environmental impact and can help reduce the carbon footprint of pharmaceuticals. However, the transition is far from a foregone conclusion: the strict regulations governing the Pharma world, protecting companies and consumers, make the adoption of innovative materials very complex. The challenge will therefore be to innovate within these constraints, or to try, where possible, to engage in an institutional dialogue to understand how to better apply the current regulations to the new contemporary market needs.
2. Anti-counterfeiting: efforts will be stepped up to fight back pharmaceutical counterfeiting through innovative technological solutions, such as RFID tags: integrated into pharmaceutical packaging, they enable easy tracking and authentication of products throughout the supply chain. This technology helps prevent counterfeiting, ensures product integrity and improves inventory management.
3. Innovative Closure Systems: innovative closure systems are being developed for pharmaceutical packaging that are child-resistant but easy for adults to open. Pressure and twist capsules, peelable film blisters and child-resistant pouches are some examples of these advances. In fact, the focus on children has often led to the creation of packaging that is difficult to handle, especially for the elderly or those with manual dexterity limitations (e.g. wrist arthrosis).
4. Integration of intelligent technologies into cold chain packaging, enabling real-time monitoring of temperature, humidity and other essential factors, thus ensuring the quality and integrity of perishable goods along the entire supply chain, of which pharmaceutical packaging is a key aspect and in which the role of artificial intelligence will prove increasingly crucial. We are talking about an extremely sensitive area of the pharmaceutical supply chain and with another strategic value: according to recent estimates, the market for temperature-controlled packaging solutions is likely to reach almost $26.2 billion by 2030, registering an annual growth rate of more than 11.2%.
5. Monodose on the rise: there is still incredible waste in pharmaceutical retail distribution, bringing tonnes of unused drugs from the drawer to the recycling bins. The reasons for this phenomenon are varied and complex, not least a lack of ‘pharmaceutical culture’ on the part of the end users of the drugs and their caregivers. The motto of retail distribution will therefore be ‘less is more’ and this will easily lead to more frequent use of single-dose packaging, especially with regard to ointments and ointment, particularly in ophthalmic medicine. A trend that could grow further with the adoption of personalized medicines, which has been talked about for some years now in the world of medicine.
And you, what trends have you intercepted for this 2024? Contact us: we will be happy to talk about them together and figure out how to use them to make the most of your products.