Why Drugs are Packaged That Way
Regardless of how one feels about the United States’ pharmaceutical industry, there’s no denying its importance and prevalence in our society. The fact is, we’re living longer, healthier lives on average, and it’s largely thanks to improved research and development of prescription drugs, much of which is done in the U.S. To give an idea of how common prescription drugs have become, In the past 30 days approximately 48.5% American citizens have used at least one prescription drug. And more than three quarters (75%) of all medical visits in the U.S. feature some sort of drug for treatment or cure.
Not only have these drugs gotten more effective and versatile, the methods by which they are packaged and delivered have improved as well. Many drugs require precise dosages and require that the user follow specific instruction to properly use them. If the packaging is faulty or imprecise, there is a risk for decreased effectiveness and other hazards related to improper dosing and administration. It’s easy to take for granted, but pharmaceutical packaging companies are just as important as the companies that produce the drugs within said packages.
Not all pharma packaging is the same, however. Certain types of drugs require different storage methods. Here we will go over three of the most common medical packaging techniques used today, and detail why they work so well.
1) Pharmaceutical Blister Packaging
Most consumers are familiar with blister packaging of some sort. Not limited to pharmaceutical use, blister packaging is used for items such as batteries, pens, toothbrushes, and much more. It is the type of packaging that protects the items inside in a tight sort of plastic bubble that conforms to the object’s shape. On the other side of this packaging is usually some kind of cardboard or thicker plastic that can be opened to retrieve the contents. This type of packaging allows the user to easily see its contents while still securing them firmly in place. For pharmaceuticals, this type of packaging is best for medium to larger pills, usually ones that are taken in pairs for a full dose. These packages are segmented into perforated sections, each with its own blister packaging for ease of use and ensuring the proper dose.
2) Bottle Packaging
More commonly used for smaller pills in large quantities, bottle packages are, just as they sound, hollow containers. These little bottles typically feature a secure, childproof lid for both prescription and over the counter drugs. This lid both keeps the contents secure and prevents young children from opening the bottle and taking whatever is inside. These containers are especially used for types of medications that are less potent and less dangerous if taken over the dose. In other words, since dosing might be slightly less precise or hazardous with these than with other drugs, these pills don’t need to be separated and individually packaged like they would be in blister packages. Directions are still clearly printed on these bottles, however, and it’s important to follow them closely regardless.
3) Pre Filled Syringe Pharmaceutical Packaging
A more recent type of packaging in the pharmaceutical world is pre filled syringe pharmaceutical packaging. Whether administered by oneself or with the help of a nurse, it’s especially important than drugs injected via needle and syringe are properly administered and dosed. When directly injected, medicine interacts with the body much quicker than if ingested via mouth. So the more accurate the dose, the better. The problem with syringes is it can be easy to mistakenly put too much or little liquid into it. The transfer process often leads to spillage. With pre filled syringe pharmaceutical packaging, the syringe cartridge already contains the proper amount of medicine. There is no need for transfer and therefore a much lower chance ore human error. In addition to improved accuracy, pre filled syringe pharmaceutical packaging has a longer shelf life in terms of sterility as well.
There are many ways in which drugs are packaged, stored, and administered. While it may seem random, there’s actually quite a bit of research and thought that goes into creating these packages for consumers. Keep that in mind the next time you visit your pharmacy and grab something over the counter or have something prescribed to you.