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Packaging And Prescription Drug Plans

Understanding the complexities and choices regarding senior drug plans continues to perplex many Americans. But what, if any, impact do these plans have on packaging?

Packaging World asked this question in a recent survey.

“The impact will be the requirement to make pharmaceuticals more in line with commodity goods instead of the super-high-profit business it was” anticipated one respondent with a solid-dose pharmaceutical manufacturer. “This will require the implementation of processes such as Six Sigma for cost reduction and process improvement or just-in-time manufacturing and automation.”

Another respondent with a maker of pharma and llyophylized products said drug benefit programs will have an effect on packaging “by increasing the pressure for better technologies that can be implemented efficiently by drug manufacturers and contract packagers.”

“Seniors will be demanding lower-cost higher-quality products” said a respondent with a maker of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. “They will go with what is the most cost-efficient since they are on a fixed budget.”

Besides cost issues a respondent for a maker of solid-dose and liquid pharmaceuticals said “The big challenge is helping seniors self-manage their drug dosing given the increasing complexity of their regimens and their declining ability to handle complex tasks requiring memory and organization skills.”

Several respondents offered personal forecasts. “Expect more diversity in how products are packaged. [That will create] additional confusion for consumers [with] the potential for medication errors and product confusion” said the employee of a firm that makes all types of pharmaceuticals.

Another respondent with a firm making pharmaceuticals biopharmaceuticals and llyophylized products predicted an “increase in blister packs dosage-guided packages and expanded-content labeling.”

Perhaps the most compelling response was this prediction from a professional with a company that makes a wide variety of pharmaceuticals nutraceuticals and medical devices: “Watch for direct-to-consumer in the next three to five years taking the place of traditional pharmacy operations.”

—Jim Butschli

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