Having been in community practice for quite some time, I have come to realize that packaging of pharmaceutical products is a production process which every drug manufacturing company should take as serious as the formulation process. Apart from its primary role of maintaining the integrity of a dosage form, it equally plays an invaluable role in the marketing strategy surrounding the product in question.
- 1 What is packaging?
- 2 Types of packaging
- 3 The Importance of Giving Your Product a Perfect Finish
- 4 What you tend to gain as a manufacturer for giving your product a perfect finish
- 5 Conclusion
What is packaging?
Packaging can be best defined as the technology of protecting formulations using collections of different components like bottles, vial, closure, cap, ampoule etc., which surrounds the pharmaceutical formulation throughout the production process until its use.
Types of packaging
Basically, packaging can be said to be of three types;
- Primary packaging (sales packaging)
- Secondary packaging (grouped packaging)
- Tertiary packaging (transit packaging)
Although their uses and applications differ distinctly from one another, the various types of packaging tend towards protecting the integrity of formulations by preserving the stability and quality of medicinal products; protecting them against all forms of spoilage and tampering. Apart from the above packaging types, unit dose packaging and “device” packaging are the two special packaging types that are currently in use.
The primary and secondary packaging of a formulation are among the major contributing factors which determine whether a company’s product will leave the shelf or not. A packaging is termed a primary packaging if the layers come in direct contact with the dosage form. A secondary packaging on the other hand designates packaging used to group primary packaged products. Thus the name grouped packaging.
The Importance of Giving Your Product a Perfect Finish
The first step towards giving your product a perfect finish is making the right choice of packaging material for a product. Despite the fact that public opinion sometimes considers packaging to be superfluous, its importance cannot be over emphasized. This is because
- It protects the formulation against all adverse external factors like moisture, light, oxygen, mechanical shock, temperature etc. which can alter the physical and chemical properties of the formulation.
- It protects the formulation against biological contamination.
In contrast with these primary functions, which are primarily conferred to the formulation by the primary packages as enumerated above, secondary packaging can be said to have the following important functions.
A. Branding and Display
Packaging plays a vital role in branding and display. When a patient enters a pharmacy to get a prescription filled, and in the process are presented with dosage forms from different manufacturers, for instance vitamin C syrup, they are usually attracted to the formulations that are well packaged and flashy.
If your product is well packaged, the purchasing intent of the customer will be triggered. He starts considering whether to buy your products or not. In the long run he might end up purchasing your products despite the price difference.
The same thing is applicable when a medical representative of your company approaches a potential buyer be it a doctor or pharmacist in a hospital or community setting. His willingness to make purchase depends on how presentable your product is since he is not to a great extent the final consumer of your formulation.
B. Source of information and identification of a formulation
By supplying an undamaged and impeccable packaged product, you assure your consumer that the information on the packaging correspond to the contents. You equally provide the patient with clearly marked information about your formulation indicating their nature, composition, weight, quantity and storage condition and shelf life. Secondary package clearly identifies a dosage form inside and it is usually the package that the customer recognizes when a formulation is displayed.
C. Security function
Packaging can equally play a vital role in reducing security risks. Improved tamper evident closures deters tampering and helps your customers detect unauthorised access to formulations.
What you tend to gain as a manufacturer for giving your product a perfect finish
Devoting your time as a manufacturer to preserve and make your formulations presentable does not only show professionalism but also dedication and commitment. By doing so, you have not only succeeded in exposing and creating awareness for your product but has also captured the attention of your potential customer even when the customer has no previous contact with your brand.
A well packaged product in the absence of the manufacturer tells a potential customer what your product is, why it was manufactured or formulated. And if the customer is convinced, he buys the product and equally recommends it to his friends. This goes a long way towards increasing the possibility at which your products leaves the shelf before that of your counterparts.
There is no doubt that there are lots of locally manufactured drugs which are more efficacious than their imported counterpart; but due to poor packaging, many manufacturers have deprived their consumer the opportunity to use such formulation. Packaging process though the last stage of a production process should be carried out with great care and dexterity since it is the first thing your customer sees. This relates secondary packaging functions to communication.
It is also crucial that stability testing of dosage forms in their final packaging be performed to ascertain compatibility and safety of the packaging material. Manufacturers who at this point still underestimate the importance of packaging should know that no matter how efficacious your formulations are, your packaging may deprive your prospective buyers the chance to try them. I doubt if you will be able to compete with other companies when your products are not been given a perfect finish.