What do you see as the significant trends in pharma packaging right now?
In the last few years we've seen the introduction of serialisation to tackle the health risk posed by counterfeit and falsified drugs. With serialisation each saleable unit of a prescription product can be tracked throughout the supply chain via its own unique serial number – from production to distribution and on to dispensation. Tamper-evident measures have been another big trend.
There are now a variety of anti-tamper and anti-counterfeit solutions available for pharma packaging. These can be based on things like special construction of the carton, or the cartons can be sealed by gluing or label seals that provide a visible indication if a package has been opened or tampered with in some way.
Sustainability and environmental responsibility continue to be high on the agenda in every industry. What impact are these megatrends having on pharma packaging?
These issues are playing an increasingly important role in the way packaging is designed and manufactured. For example, using lighter-weight board grades to make packages lighter or more compact is helping to cut the carbon footprint of products. But it's important to remember that the primary function of pharma packaging is to protect what's inside and to make the logistics chain as efficient and effective as possible.
Just like in every other industry, reducing the use of plastics is something that's on everybody's mind. The challenge with primary pharma packaging is that plastic, which is used for example in blister packaging, offers important barrier properties that are difficult to replicate using other materials.
On a similar note, what about forest certifications like PEFC and FSC?
The same as with plastics reduction, these types of certifications are becoming increasingly important and are something that our customers ask us about all the time. They have their own sustainability and corporate social responsibility targets and using raw materials from sustainably managed forests is an important part of achieving these.
What is the significance of material purity in pharma packaging, and what role does fresh fibre play in ensuring purity?
The purity of a packaging material has a significant impact on its visual properties like whiteness and cleanliness. Less-pure materials can generate dust, which can cause problems with the machinery on packaging lines. As well as guaranteeing purity, packaging materials made from fresh fibre can also bring greater strength at lower grammages, which means better runnability, especially on high-speed packaging lines.