Innovation is the underbelly for medical film packaging market

While players in the pharmaceutical industry are consistently going to challenge their packaging counterparts with new quality requirements, the physical appeal of the product will be another forte for manufacturers to exhibit their prowess


Technology is undoubtedly the engine of growth for healthcare per se. As new findings make headlines every day, the increasingly tech-savvy management of healthcare and medical device companies are indulging in a larger and state-of-the-art research framework. It is this keen interest in rolling out a standalone product that makes companies instill healthy, yet cut-throat competition. This trend trickles down to offshoot markets of the healthcare industry, and one among them is medical film packaging market.

Packaging in healthcare is as pertinent as manufacturing the drug. In a way, manufacturing and packaging complement each other – quality manufacturing needs efficient packaging and vice versa. That said, stringent regulations on quality have taken care of this aspect, and since then the quality has taken a backseat. Today, in an era where technology has managed to cushion comfort in every aspect of consumer experience, the impetus has shifted to better user experience.

Having said that, let’s take a look at some trends where innovation has changed the face of consumer experience in medical packaging.

Polyolefin Replacing Glass for Packing Intravenous Fluids

About two decades ago, the sight of an in-patient would always have a thick glass bottle hanging a couple of feet above the head injecting a solution of saline and glucose, or either of it. Today, it is all the same, except that thick glass bottle. Over the years, both manufacturers and consumers (healthcare providers in this case) have realized that glass bottles for intravenous fluids are strenuous to handle. How?

  1. They are difficult to transport because they are heavy and occupy more space. This increases the contingency of the supplier and end-user.

  2. Glass is brittle and hence has the risk of breakage. What’s more worrying is that glass breaks glass, so the damage is catastrophic. To avoid this damage, drugs manufacturers have to add another layer of packaging.

  3. This reason might sound cynical, but, the ability to recycle or reuse glass adds to the maintenance cost of the manufacturer. Since, the bottle carry medical fluids, they have to be extensively cleaned and sterilized before reusing them. The consequence of this could also be generation of hazardous medical waste.

Today, most saline bottles, and to a large extent intravenous drugs are supplied in polyolefin pouches. They are easy to handle, cost-effective, and can be conveniently transported. Over the years, manufacturers have tackled the concern of sterilization, too. Technology has aided the development of medical packaging films that can be sterilized, finds a report by TMR.

Use and Throw the New Norm for Pedia Nutrition Products

For long kitchens stacked with grocery-filled pedia-nutrition tin cans was the norm in Indian middle-class homes. With time, the purchasing power increased, and soon obsolete tin cans were replaced with classy kitchenware. As the consumers found these tin cans redundant, pharmaceutical companies sensed the need to reinvent their packaging for nutraceuticals.

In the back of their mind, companies were clear about the end-product – a fancy carton or cardboard container that allows users to trash the packaging once emptied. Not just that, the packaging would also allow companies to revamp their marketing. Easy to print paper-based packaging made way for innovation in medical packaging.

While pharmaceutical companies found a new niche to boast about, they were not worried with woes of quality. Research has enabled big brands to produce high-quality packaging material that ensures that their product’s quality does not deteriorate in the course of reaching their consumers.

A New Drug Means New Packaging

There is nothing more compelling than the visual appeal of a product. While beauty products are proof for it, healthcare is no different. Pulling out a strip of medicines with fancy packaging ought to catch the eye of your neighbors. Jokes apart, the truth underlying packaging of drugs is the variation in compounds. With the number of drugs only bound to increase in future, the need for fresh packaging is certain.

A new drug means a new formulation. With different chemicals, the reaction of the drug to external components like light, heat, moisture, oxygen, etc. is different. Having said that, some drugs are also sensitive to materials used for packaging. This will keep players in the medical film packaging on their toes. If they have their eyes wide open and ears gathering every development in the drug discovery arena, then the chances of hitting the bull’s eye are high.

While players in the pharmaceutical industry are consistently going to challenge their packaging counterparts with new quality requirements, the physical appeal of the product will be another forte for manufacturers to exhibit their prowess. Patient-specific requirements to enhance experience will keep the medical packaging industry at the fore of innovation.

Smart Medicine for a Smart Patient

Quality and appearance have remained the focus for pharmaceutical companies for long. Digital has added a new adjective to medical packaging – Smart. As drug manufacturers rapidly move to digital interface, they have realized the importance of digitizing packaging as well. The concept is similar and established, only the applications have been tweaked.

When pharmaceutical companies integrate drugs with digital, it opens doors for a whole set of new data. Over the years, patient-specific surveys will become obsolete. Trends like patient preference, drug consumption, treatment adherence, feedback, pharmacovigilance, etc. will become easy to gather. All that patients will have to do is record their consumption and behavior on an application, and there you go, pharmaceutical companies will be able to map consumer behavior. Not just that, it will eliminate the mistrust over proxy survey data, that healthcare providers often tend to find untrustworthy.

Change is more rapid and a new trend is usually short-lived. There is always something new and better in the making to replace the existing. This fairly applies to products in the medical packaging market as well. While companies have their own tools to track market trends, the perspective of an expert is clearly missing. This where prudent and pertinent insights from market research experts like TMR come into play. You may like to check the detailed report here.

About Author: Adarsh Jain is an Assistant Team Lead at the Transparency Market Research. The quest to find answers to his deep curiosity in biological processes led Adarsh to pursue engineering in biotechnology. While science experiments intimidated him, he discovered his love for writing. Adarsh who writes on health, science, education, technology, and business, has got five years of experience in the domain.

*The views expressed by the author are his own.