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Novartis, Forest, and Walmart win awards for patient-compliant packaging

Starter kits and packs, Walmart’s adherence package, and an innovative Slider Pack earn honors from the Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council.

This calendarized, unit-dose pack from Novartis is designed to help leukemia patients.
This calendarized, unit-dose pack from Novartis is designed to help leukemia patients.

Package innovation designed to help patients comply with medication regimens was honored by the Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council in its Compliance Package of the Year competition at RxAdherence 2012 held in late March in NJ.

Winning HCPC’s top honors as the Compliance Package of the Year was the Novartis Tasigna Starter Kit, a comprehensive introductory pack for adult patients initiating therapy for treatment of Ph+ Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia.

The Package of the Year was submitted by Anderson Packaging.Inc. on behalf of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. The package features a compliance-prompting, calendarized unit-dose pack with 28 capsules for seven days of therapy, utilizing the MWV Dosepak® child-resistant design.

Concise graphics guide the patient to the dosing regimen. Outer graphics highlight the opening instructions for the CR features incorporated into the pack design. Supplementing the therapy, the Novartis Tasigna Starter Kit contains many supporting elements to assist patients, including an instructional card guiding patients to co-pay assistance programs, a patient education program DVD, a USB device containing education materials, and disease state education. The pack also contains a record keeper to track medications, as well as a wheel for patients to determine the appropriate intervals for product dosing and consumption of food. Information and guidance is included to enable effective reimbursement for script fills. The pack has a patient medication guide brochure. All of this information is housed in an innovative carton design.

Six competition judges were impressed by and commented on the comprehensiveness of the package, particularly the food wheel guide that was provided. One stated, “This package is one of the most comprehensive I’ve ever seen. While effectively delivering the product (and protecting it), the kit provides detailed medication guides, patient support, financial support, and information for prescribers.”

Another said, “Pleasing graphics, well-written guidance materials convey a caring tone to the patient, without minimizing the risks of the therapy. Extraordinary attention seems to have been dedicated to this package.”

Forest Pharmaceuticals’ starter pack
Winning First Runner Up was a package for Forest Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s ViibrydTM vilazodone HCl tablets, 30-Day Treatment Pack. Forest Pharmaceuticals is a wholly owned subsidiary of Forest Laboratories Inc. (FPI), a manufacturer, distributor, and seller of prescription products in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Viibryd is indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). The starter pack was also submitted by Anderson Packaging, Inc., on behalf of FPI. The pack employs Anderson’s IntuiDoseTM  wallet-style packaging. One competition judge said, “Compared to the other packs being judged, this one has to deliver more complicated instructions because the dose or med varies for three different time periods during the month. That presents the only real challenge to the patient. Assuming the physician or pharmacist offers some initial instruction, this is truly a winning package. It’s actually enjoyable to unfold, and the graphics do a terrific job in their use of color to help the patient follow his or her drug regimen. Instructions are easy to access, pills look easy to use, and it’s apparent what has been taken.”


Source-reduced Walmart pack
HCPC’s Second Runner Up award went to Walmart for the new and improved Shellpak® adherence package from MWV. MWV Healthcare’s Shellpak is designed to improve medication adherence alone or in combination with other adherence therapies. Shellpak features a child-resistant and senior-friendly outer injection-molded high-impact polystyrene shell that protects medication tablets packaged in a 30-day calendar blister card. The large, flat blister card and package surface allows for dosing instructions and patient education to be printed in large, legible fonts. This particular Shellpak is considered new and improved because the shell is made with 17% less plastic, leading to an estimated savings of more than 750 tons of plastic per year. Additionally, a bar-code window added to the Shellpak now enables the pharmacist to scan the bar code without sliding the blister out of the package.

Another significant feature of MWV’s Shellpak is that it heralded new data, published in the Journal of Clinical Therapeutics, demonstrating statistically significant improvement in patient adherence over vials. This study, using Walmart pharmacy dispensing data from more than three million individuals demonstrated that an adherence strategy involving calendarized blister packaging, of even small effect size at the individual level that is broadly implemented on a population level, could significantly leverage therapeutic efficacy and provide substantial public health benefit.

Package innovation rewarded
HCPC’s Innovative Design honors went to the Burgopak Rx Series Child Resistant Slider pack, which incorporates the engaging operating system of the original Burgopak design, while also including senior-friendly features. This entry was submitted by Burgopak Healthcare & Technology and is manufactured by McKesson RxPak.

The pack is opened when the patient pushes two buttons, one on either side of the pack, while simultaneously pulling the end tab. The pack opens to reveal the blister, held in a plastic tray on one side, with the patient information in an easy-to-read booklet format on the other. Once the patient has accessed the medication, they push the end tab back into the pack and it re-engages the CR (child-resistance) lock. As the pack itself is CR, there is no additional requirement for tougher CR blister foils, making the pack easier to use for both seniors and those with reduced dexterity. Calendar blister formats can also be used to further assist adherence.

The Burgopak CR Slider pack achieves the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission’s F=1 for child resistance and senior-friendly effectiveness. The pack encourages compliance by keeping the blister, patient information, and outer carton connected at all times. It also keeps the pack compact and portable.

HCPC’s Compliance Package of the Year competition has been an annual event since 1995 and consists of two categories: one for trade packages released in the past year and the other for innovative designs not yet used commercially. HCPC Compliance Package of the Year winner, the First Runner-up, and the Innovative Design winner will be asked to designate scholarship funds to a university-level packaging school focused on the pharmaceutical industry. HCPC is a not-for-profit trade association whose mission is to promote the greater use of compliance-prompting packaging to improve patient adherence and patient outcomes. 

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