Current Edition

Navigating the Shift in Pharmaceutical Packaging:

Beyond Traditional Structures Towards Healthier and More Sustainable Future

In the past the choice of packaging strategy in pharmaceutical industry was often purely based on functional criteria that defined which packaging material delivers the most stable performance for a safe, secure, and efficient drug delivery.

Predictable interaction between active ingredients and the packaging material can only be guaranteed through extensive testing of a specific combination of a drug formulation and dedicated packaging material. It is a time consuming and rather expensive process. Once the winning match has been confirmed, it becomes a part of an official pharma dossier that is submitted for a legal approval and registration by regulatory bodies. In this context it needs to be understood that most changes to primary packaging specification would directly require new stability testing and new submission of a dossier with all the associated costs and effort. Which is why such changes are unlikely to be implemented unless public safety is at stake, great financial risk or gain has been identified or a new legal requirement has been introduced.

For years, the pharmaceutical industry has relied on combinations of PVC and aluminum for medication packaging. However, as sustainability climbs up the global agenda, this traditional approach is coming under scrutiny. With products like mono-polymer and PVC-free aluminium coldform blisters leading the change, the industry is adopting innovative and more environmentally sound packaging solutions. Read how a transition is both timely and challenging and how to maneuver through this journey.

The Changing Landscape of Pharmaceutical Packaging

Driven by the quest for more sustainable solutions, the material choices for blister packaging will shift towards less complex substrates. Halogenated polymers like PVC, PVDC, and PTFE for mid to high barrier applications will most probably be less acceptable as the need for alternative solutions, that are more compatible with circular systems requirements will grow.

The Rise of Coldform Blisters

Coldform blisters without PVC sealing layers are increasingly garnering attention for their ability to substitute other less preferential options for high barrier applications. While not a new concept, it’s quickly becoming a low-hanging fruit in the mission for sustainable packaging transition due to several other benefits that those structures have to offer.

In addition to being PVC-free, the new generation of coldform blisters contains less plastic in weight and therefore the relative share of aluminium is increased without adding more metal. Higher aluminium content contributes to a better sorting and higher material recovery rate in waste processing in all life cycle stages of the material, including the end-of-life of the final blister pack.