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Nanotechnology to drive pharmaceutical packaging growth

Improved barrier properties in plastics and enhanced functionality will increase demand for ‘nano-enabled’ pharmaceutical packaging.


“Global demand for prefillable inhalers and prefillable syringes will generate the fastest growth opportunities among all pharmaceutical packaging products, based on performance advantages in drug delivery and the introduction of new bioengineered medicines.”

That’s according to a recently published report from iRAP, Inc. called “PH-1 Nano-Enabled Packaging for the Pharmaceutical Industry—A Global Technology, Industry and Market Analysis.”

The report notes that last year’s total market for nano-enabled pharmaceutical packaging was $3.8 billion. It forecasts that number will reach $8.1 billion by 2014.

A press release on the report notes, “Packaging in the pharmaceutical industry has gone through major changes in the past decade. The advent of new drug delivery systems and the development of new biochemical compounds have resulted in a need not only for enhanced protection against factors such as moisture, light, oxygen, and mechanical forces, but also for packaging forms to play a more integral role in the drug delivery process. Packaging design today provides stability and shelf life to the drug and the delivery system, which becomes fundamental to the safety, convenience, and compliance of drug use.”

Nanotechnology applications and functionalities help enhance plastic barrier properties, and provide greater functionality, as well as sensing and signaling of relevant information in pharmaceutical packaging. Among the reports findings are the following:

• Blister packaging demand will grow in unit-dose, clinical trial, compliance, institutional, and over-the-counter drugs. Blister packaging will become more cost-efficient in small-volume applications due to changeover features. The global market for nano-enabled blister packaging is predicted to rise from $941 million in 2008 to $2.1 billion by 2014.

• Child-resistant, senior-friendly, and dispensing closures will lead global market growth for pharmaceutical closures and accessories. Demand for closures, labels, tamper-evident, and anti-counterfeiting accessories will come from stricter government and industry standards, says the report.

• The U.S. and Europe will continue as the largest pharmaceutical packaging consumers, with upgraded and diversified drug-producing sectors, “especially in the area of generic drugs.” That said, the report notes, “China’s growth opportunities will be among the strongest, based on rapidly expanding pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities there and the phasing-in of a government program designed to upgrade the quality and integrity of nationally produced medicines.”

Published in March, 2010, the report is available from Innovative Research and Products (iRAP), Inc., for $2,950, by visiting the Web site listed above, calling 203/569-7909, or e-mailing

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