26 MARCH 2016 | PHARMACEUTICAL PROCESSING
Flexible Packaging: Expectations for
New Generation Pharma Solutions
Flexible packaging suppliers continue to evolve their product
offerings to meet industry demands.
By Garrett Hager, Director Pharma Films & Medical Packaging, Americas, Tekni-Plex
Just by their very nature, both over-the- counter and ethical pharmaceutical products place heavy requirements on the packaging that contains and protects them. Flexible
packaging suppliers continue to evolve their
product offerings to meet ever increasing demands
from manufacturers and consumers.
Alternatives to Polyvinyl Chloride
Eliminating polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from
packaging structures has been an ongoing initiative
for many years. More recently there has been
an even bigger push to reduce carbon footprint
and eliminate chlorine from the waste stream.
However, PVC is a relatively inexpensive material,
so packaging suppliers are working on developing
alternatives that deliver the same performance
attributes in a cost-effective manner, while also
positively impacting the environment.
Other materials, such as polyesters, copolyesters,
The other issue is that PVC alternatives
frequently require different heat-seal formulations
to maintain seal integrity. This is driving packaging
suppliers to develop better sealing and opening
performance technology focusing on both a
combination of material chemistry and processing
Pharma Company Expectations
Although the exact material requirements will
vary by product, there are five main packaging
deliverable areas that are demanded by all
pharmaceutical manufacturers. Those are: business
continuity, compliance, integrity, product safety,
and sustainability. Here are the expectations.
Due to supply disruptions that have happened
in the past five years, pharmaceutical companies
are asking suppliers to provide detailed
redundancy information. The goal is obvious.
Pharma companies want to put in place as many
mechanisms as possible so that their production
is not shut down should something happen to
the packaging vendor’s primary supply chain and
Pharma companies want to see proof of a backup
plan that can be immediately deployed should
a serious disruption occur. Some even require a
detailed matrix that covers everything from backup Blister accessibility continues to be an important issue.