Pharmaceutical packaging plays an important role in the medical field to help safeguard medicines, drugs, and other pharmaceutical and operational essentials. The different types of pharmaceutical packaging used can literally make or break the way products are transported to and from the medical industry. Thus it is essential to understand them and learn how to leverage the different types available.
This industry is highly regulated, and every different country, region, and city needs to follow the strict guidelines provided for the safety of the products as well as consumers. Though they can be broadly categorized into primary and secondary packaging, there are different types available in each of them that cater to a specific need of pharmaceuticals.
7 Types of Pharmaceutical Packaging
Let us now check out 7 different types of pharmaceutical packaging that may be a part of both primary and secondary packaging needs. They are very essential elements as they can help keep the medicinal value of the pharmaceuticals they hold and protect them from any harm, impurities, or contamination, both during transit as well as storage.
This is a classic example of primary packaging for your pharmaceuticals, meaning they are mainly used to package the medicine/pharmaceutical product itself directly. It is mainly used for solid pharmaceutical packaging such as tablets, capsules, etc.
Blister packs are sturdy in nature and are comprised of thin, transparent, plastic polymer compartments that contain the medicine and are enclosed using aluminium paper. They fit the medicine in a snug container thus helping maintain its form and structure and the tablets do not break easily. They provide high efficiency in sealing shut the medicine in question.
Ampoules are a great packaging solution to store liquid/semi-liquid forms of medicine. They greatly help preserve the potency and sterility of medications, especially if they are packaged as single-dose medications or injectable sources. Ampoules packaging is generally made from toughened high-quality glass, that is heat and temperature resistant. They provide a vial packaging for liquid drugs.
These are similar in packaging to ampoules but, there is a slight difference. Vials are a great packaging solution, especially for injectable liquids or intravenous medicines. Since they mostly contain injectable liquids, the contents need to be highly potent and efficient for use. They are mainly made using glass, but you may also find them in plastic. The glass packaging is usually used for its non-reactive properties. Plastic vials are used in oral medication packaging. The transparent packaging can be helpful in gauging any irregularities or impurities.
Sachet packaging provides compact packaging in the form of pouches or sachets, which are usually single-dose. They are easy to use and portable in nature and provide packaging solutions to a wide range of different medications and healthcare needs. Sachets are usually made of synthesized plastic material and/or a combination of high-quality paper. They are one of the most affordable packaging solutions. Once they are ripped to be opened, they cannot be resealed.
As the name suggests, this type of pharmaceutical packaging helps hold any type of liquid medicines effectively. But they are not limited to only liquid medicines and are also used to package solid pills, and gel tablets, with the use of dessicant packs. Bottles can be of varied sizes, depending on the dosage/product usage. They can be found in both glass and plastic and can be stored effectively even if opened, under prescribed conditions.
Plastic bottles should follow regulations in order to be used in pharmaceutical packaging. Glass bottles can be tinted in a light brown color, to help protect the medicine from any harmful reactions from UV rays. Packaging companies need to make sure that the bottle caps being used for this pharmaceutical packaging should provide a secure tight seal that can prevent contamination or moisture from seeping into the bottle once opened.
Special care should be taken in the case of glass bottles, as they can be highly fragile, posing a risk of breakage during transportation or handling. Thus an extra level of exterior packaging can help protect them in transit and when handling frequently.
They provide a unique way of packaging sterile, potent, and important medications in the form of syringes that can be filled or even come in the form of pre-filled syringes providing a highly efficient solution to pharmaceutical packing. This type of pharmaceutical packaging can be used to inject medicinal content directly using a sterile needle attachment.
Syringes are mainly used for intravenous pharmaceutical packaging, though you may find some syringes for oral use. They also provide a solution for you to mix more than one medicine before use/injecting. Since the syringe is usually sterilized, pre-filled, and sealed, the risk of contamination is minimized greatly, making it safe for use.
Cardboard Carton Packaging / External / Secondary Packaging
This is one of the most important types of pharmaceutical packaging, AKA external/secondary packaging, and is a necessary and vital part of pharmaceutical packaging. This cardboard carton packaging type is used widely for all bottles, vials, syringes, blister packs, and ampoules packaging as they provide an additional layer of protection for the medications and also a container to hold them together while transport or storage. They also provide comprehensive labeling information of the medicine that is packaged by acting as a housing for the primary packaging.
It is essential you choose the right pharmaceutical packaging solution for the medication in question that will make sure it remains useful, potent free from contamination during transit or storage, or efficient for multiple use once opened.