This summer, more than 3,600 Walmart pharmacies are expected to employ the new Shellpak® Renew compliance-prompting packaging from MeadWestvaco Corp. Shellpak Renew features a tear-resistant, recyclable outer carton, an easy-slide blister, and an integrated calendar for patients to easily track their medications.
“Medications prepackaged in Shellpak Renew make dispensing medications quicker and easier so that our pharmacists can spend more time counseling our patients, including providing instructions on how to take their medications,” notes Sandy Kinsey, vice president, Pharmacy Merchandising at Walmart Stores. “In addition, the calendarized packaging helps reinforce to our customers how to take their medications safely and effectively for the best outcome.”
The development of Shellpak Renew is part of MWV’s commitment to further awareness and solutions for poor medication adherence. Research shows that half of all patients in the U.S. today do not take their medicines as prescribed. Poor medication adherence can lead to worsening of disease, serious and avoidable health risks, increased hospitalizations, and even death. The annual cost of non-adherence in the U.S. is estimated to be $290 billion, representing 13% of total healthcare expenditures.
“Among the many adherence solutions that are available to help patients take their medications as prescribed, medication packaging may be uniquely effective as one of the last opportunities to educate patients about how to take their medications safely and effectively,” explains MWV’s John Grinnell, vice president and managing director, for MWV Healthcare’s Secondary and Adherence Packaging Div.
As part of its commitment to patients and to providing the best medication adherence packaging, MWV takes an evidence-based approach to inform packaging design. A first-of-its-kind study, “A Pharmacoepidemiologic Analysis of the Impact of Calendar Packaging on Adherence to Self-Administered Medications for Long-Term Use,” conducted by Venebio and funded by MWV, was published in the May 2011 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Therapeutics.
Shellpak Renew is based on MWV’s original Shellpak design, and was developed based on feedback from pharmacists and patients. The new sustainable and easy-to-use Shellpak Renew packaging has a smaller footprint requiring less shelf space. The outer carton is made of MWV’s Natralock®, an environmentally friendly paperboard-based packaging solution that maximizes the use of recyclable materials and minimizes waste. The package also contains enhanced adherence features, including color-coded spine labels to help distinguish among drugs and easy-open, child-resistant push buttons. In addition to Walmart, Shellpak Renew is currently being used in nearly 2,000 other retail pharmacies across the country.