Safety and efficacy have always been key in healthcare packaging, however, recent sustainability concerns have become increasingly important for both patients and healthcare providers. In this article, we explore recent innovations in pharmaceutical laminate packaging. These laminates traditionally used in sachet, strip pack, and stick pack formats can help provide us with answers to the challenges related to sustainability in <a href=”https://www.amcor.com/products/healthcare”>pharma packaging</a>.
We talk to the Director of Healthcare Marketing at Armcor, Daniel Roiz, about the latest innovative additions to their more sustainable “High Shield Pharma Laminate” portfolio and ask the following questions:
<h3>Can you tell us more about the unique challenges faced by pharmaceutical companies that require formats like sachets, strip packs, and stick packs?</h3>
The primary challenge is to protect a drug against external contamination and prolong shelf life. Traditionally these formats were used to contain orally administered pharmaceuticals presented in powder, gel, or liquid form. The ultimate reason is to protect the contents from excess humidity or loss thereof. This is critical in preserving the efficacy of the drug for prolonged periods and guaranteeing longer shelf life.
The current, standard solution to this problem is the use of multi-material laminate packaging that contains a combination of materials like plastic, aluminium, and in most cases paper to cover the outside. Unfortunately, the multi-material structure of this type of packaging does not make it recyclable. Therefore we need to rethink the way we package health products and prescription drugs in order to meet the demands of consumers for more sustainable solutions.
<h3>Can you tell us more about your journey to a more sustainable High Shield Pharma laminate portfolio?</h3>
In general, the journey starts by endeavouring to define what a sustainable solution will look like for us and for our customers. We go further by asking what the needs of the product are and how we can align them with our commitment to making our packaging more sustainable. Armcor’s definition of ‘more sustainable’ is based on the following three pillars:
1. Limiting the utilisation of resources)
2. Reducing our carbon footprint (even if it is not always recycled)
3. Avoiding pollution of the environment by ensuring that the design of the packaging is acceptable to established <a href=”https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/recycled”>recycled</a> streams.
With that in mind, we proceed by lining up our material science expertise, consumer insights, and our extensive knowledge of the consumer and pharma health space to design a portfolio that will meet the technical challenges presented. This enables brands to provide ‘more sustainable’ options to address the needs of consumers and patients alike.
<h3>How do current breakthroughs in the field of pharmaceutical laminates support consumers who wish to play a more active role in ensuring sustainability?</h3>
In a nutshell, our High Shield Pharma Laminate portfolio allows healthcare systems, our customers, and ultimately consumers to make the right choices. Whether that means being able to recycle pharmaceutical end products or reduce the <a href=”https://www.newfoodmagazine.com/article/144260/carbon-labelling/”>carbon footprint emanating</a> from the packaging, consumers now have the opportunity to make ‘ more sustainable’ decisions regarding pharmaceutical packaging.
<h3>As consumer trends can have a major impact on packaging innovations, particularly in the OTC space, what consumer trends are responsible for driving innovation today?</h3>
Two main trends are seen to be driving innovative packaging in the OTC space plus an additional trend that is more relevant to formats like sachets and stick packs than others.
<h2>First is the Sustainability Agenda</h2>
As with all other segments, sustainability packaging is fast becoming a ‘licence to operate’ driven by 3 main factors:
<h3>1. Regulatory pressure</h3>
Increased consumer awareness about people’s impact on the environment and their commitment to lower their own environmental footprint.
<h3>2. Increased commitments by industries to provide sustainable solutions</h3>
The second trend is based on an aging population and their needs. Across developed regions, the increasing share of 60+-year-old adults is driving the need for OTC packaging that is easier to open while still being child-resistant. This leads to innovations in the functionality aspects of the packaging.