What started as an unknown virus in Wuhan, China is now holding the world hostage. Scientists and researchers are working round-the-clock to understand more about the virus and come up with a vaccine that can help control it. Every industry has been affected by this novel coronavirus, ranging from small-sized to large companies.
The only industry that is believed to be holding the key to the current pandemic is the pharmaceutical companies. Although these companies are currently making more profits than other industries, they are also facing challenges in their service delivery. For instance, some companies have had to change the packaging techniques used on their products to prevent the virus from spreading. Additionally, due to the reduced importation of APIs, medicine production has been hindered.
In this article, we are covering some of the measures that have been put in place during the pandemic as far as pharmaceutical packaging is concerned. Read on to explore them.
Pharmaceuticals are becoming more complex with each day, and more consumers are ordering products direct from manufacturers through online stores, instead of buying from a local pharmacy. For that reason, medical packaging safety should be prioritized to ensure that its content is safeguarded during shipping and when the recipients receive the packages.
Safe handling and integrity should be ensured in all the stages from product assembly to processing and shipping. Human supervision is not sufficient, especially in more complex pharmaceuticals that may require advanced camera monitoring to detect any slight defect in packaging or containers that may compromise safety.
Sterile and antiviral packaging
From trial vaccines to testing kits and everyday products, this global pandemic has emphasized the importance of sterile packaging to curb the spread of the virus through contact and reassure consumers who are concerned about the risks of infection.
Sterile and antibacterial packaging has a major focus of most manufacturers across the sectors. As consumers’ priorities are shifting from sustainability to more urgent protection, pharmaceutical companies are swapping out the sustainable packaging materials for rigid plastics that have more reliable barrier properties.
However, safety doesn’t mean sacrificing sustainability. Research is ongoing into antiviral and antibacterial polymers and biopolymers for pharmaceutical packaging as a better option than the standard plastic packaging.
Testing pharmaceutical packaging material
Pharmaceutical packaging material generally goes through different testing stages. The mechanical test is usually done to ensure that the content is safe even when the package is exposed to external factors such as weather elements and falling or exerted pressure during transportation.
So, the medical packaging company needs to do an additional test to ensure that any contamination of the container by a virus doesn’t survive. The material should be made of active drug elements that do not promote any viral or bacterial contamination. This rule is enforced to improve the safety of the medical practitioners, pharmacists, and the end-user during this ongoing pandemic.
Other than meeting consumer demands, pharmaceutical manufacturers should also ensure that their operations comply with the ever-changing laws and guidelines. One of the most pressing issues currently is the introduction of serialization technologies across processing and packaging in an effort to curb counterfeiting.
Since each product should be serialized before packing and shipping, the introduction of serialization requires an extensive overhaul of established processes and update IT systems with the control software.
The rate of diabetes and other diseases are increasing across the globe, hence increasing the demand for handy self-injection packages that can give caregivers and patients the ability to administer drugs easily.
The lockdown and social distancing rules haven’t made the situation better because it has made self-administering a requirement for a majority of patients who are confined in their homes and cannot see a practitioner.
Pharmaceutical packaging companies need to stay up-to-date with the latest self-administering drug packages. That’s because these self-administering drug packages may vary considerably in shape and size, compared to traditional medications and they may not be compatible with existing processes.
Pharmaceutical packaging companies to outsource to meet demands
Of course, with prescription and non-prescription being in high demand during this pandemic, packaging manufacturers need to scale up their operations. The novel coronavirus has left many medical packaging companies struggling to keep up, especially due to measures such as remote working and social distancing measures, making these companies understaffed
With pharmaceutical demand shooting up due to the ongoing pandemic, the steady growth of medical packaging is expected to continue, especially now that many consumers are purchasing their products online. This is why pharmaceutical companies can outsource to other medical packaging firms in order to meet the demand. However, they still need to ensure that strict safety and quality checks are established to ensure compliance with regulations as well as consistent standards.
While these rules and regulations have been put in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, it is still your duty to ensure that you are safe from contracting the virus. The virus is believed to survive for up to 24 hours without a host. So, it might be dead by the time you pick your package at the doorstep.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to neglect the other measures. Washing your hands is one of the perfect ways to protect yourself from this virus. In addition to that, you should ensure that you decontaminate the package before touching it.
Indeed, no one knows what the future holds when it comes to the current global pandemic. There are a lot of speculations as to when the crisis will end. The rules and regulations in the packaging techniques are among the major moves by pharmaceutical packaging companies to combat the spread of coronavirus.
The new packaging material is made from antiviral polymers to help fight any viral contamination on its surface. All these measures are geared towards ensuring the safety of the people who come into contact with medical packaging.