Newer technologies will help pharmaceutical companies differentiate from competition and reduce overall packaging costs
The packaging industry not only provides containment and drug safety for the pharmaceutical industry, but also ensures identity, convenience of handling, and proper delivery. As patent expirations deliver more generics into the market, the need for packaging will steadily rise, in turn encouraging low-cost innovation in emerging markets. The demand for customisation is further expected to drive the pharmaceutical packaging industry towards low-cost, sustainable and traceable packages in the future.
A new report from Frost & Sullivan, New Technologies that will Impact the Global Pharmaceutical Packaging Industry, finds that the US, the EU, and Japan account for more than 65–70% of the global market for pharmaceutical packaging. But China, Brazil and India will rapidly evolve into key markets for growth and spending. Tablets and capsules will remain in demand while the use of prefilled syringes and inhalers is expected to increase owing to their ease of use and improving customisation.
Developed markets such as Europe have become increasingly vigilant in tracking pharmaceutical packaging and stopping drug counterfeiting. By 2017, serialisation of drug packages will be mandatory for all manufacturers, driving the packaging industry towards newer and unique solutions.
'Ready-for-use prototypes are expected to make waves in the pharmaceutical packaging industry,' said Frost & Sullivan Healthcare Industry Manager Dr Siddharth Dutta.
'Drug manufacturers can switch from existing packaging forms to more innovative designs without spending too much money on R&D.'
In fact, outsourcing is seen as a competitive weapon by the industry. Technical advancement in the packaging industry is slow and most pharmaceutical companies allocate only a small portion of their budget for packaging R&D, compounding the need for outsourcing.
Stronger regulatory hurdles in developed countries lead to uncertainty and further affect product innovations in the pharmaceutical packaging industry. In the face of declining R&D, the introduction of smart tags such as the 'prooftag' from Electronic Tag Solutions are expected to alter the drug packaging landscape.
'In 2015, technologies that remind patients to take their medication and enable doctors to remotely monitor the proper use of prescribed medicines will become popular,' said Dutta.
'Technologies such as radio-frequency identification and bar codes will ensure that the correct dosage is delivered to the patient, making patient management safer than ever and changing the dynamics of the global pharmaceutical packaging industry.'