Clinical trial packaging – what can we expect from the market?

EPR discusses the findings of market research reports, unveiling how, where and why the global clinical trial packaging market will grow between now and 2027.

Unlabelled boxes on a pharma packaging machine

The clinical trial packaging market provides for the clinical trials industry, valued at $44.3 billion in 2020 and expected to reach $47 billion in 2021.1 In this sector the primary considerations when designing packaging are functionality and usability since the materials are for research and not attracting consumers. In certain instances, graphics may be completely omitted, such as in blinded studies, where anonymity is critical to the success of the test.

A new market research report has revealed that the clinical trial packaging market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.3 percent between 2020 and 2027.2 The market was valued at just under $1100 million in 2019.3

In accordance with the increasing size of the market are the forecasted opportunities in sales, which is anticipated to climb at a CAGR of 6.9 percent between now and 2025.2

Driving the growth in the clinical trial packaging market

Pharmaceutical packages selection of glass and plastic bottles and pills push through foil

According to Transparency Market Research’s analysis2 the primary drivers of growth include the increasing numbers of chronic diseases globally, such as epilepsy, HIV and cancer; the rising number of clinical trials, particularly in developing regions, including India, China, Thailand and other ASEAN countries; and increasing investment in pharmaceutical R&D.

Some additional drivers included the increasing adoption of contract manufacturing by the pharmaceutical industry and the demand and increasing government support for the development of innovative therapies. The investigators also highlighted that the advent of innovative pharmaceutical packaging concepts, such as blow fill seal vials, two-in-one pre-filled vial deigns, pre-filled syringes, snap off ampoules and child-resistant packs should also contribute to the growth of the market in this period.

Additionally, the report suggests that pressure regarding the sustainability of the industry will shape its growth, with players compelled to implement non-plastic alternatives as the increasing consumer affinity for and evolving regulatory guidelines promote sustainable packaging.

The report also listed several factors that could restrain the clinical trial packaging market in the forecast period, these included the lack of modern infrastructure in under-developed and developing regions, as well as the scarcity of trained personnel.

COVID-19 promoting innovative packaging solutions

The demand for vaccines and therapeutics to combat the pandemic resulted in not only an exponential increase in certain approved/existing medicines and medical device kits, but also a rising demand for clinical trial packaging to support the development of novel pharmaceuticals. According to the report, this rising demand for clinical trials packaging solutions such as vials and ampoules, syringes and bottles, among others, occurred in both mature and developing sectors, driving growth in the market.

Additionally, the analysts indicated that consumer interest in safety and hygiene with regards to the potential of surfaces be points of COVID-19 transmission, should have a strong influence on the clinical trial packaging market in 2020 and beyond. In the ongoing pandemic scenario, they said, market players are working to develop new materials to meet these evolving requirements.

The COVID-19 pandemic also drove the adoption of contract manufacturing and contract packaging Such that there is now increased demand for pressure sensitive labels, folding cartons and convenient vial filling.

Clinical trials packaging market by geography

In the report the analysts revealed that the North American market held approximately 53 percent of the global market share in 2017 and that its dominance should continue through the forecast period. The North American clinical trial packaging market is projected to achieve a 7.7 percent between 2017 and 2025.

Illustration of the earth isolated on a white background.

According to the research, Europe is also a potentially lucrative market, anticipated to expand at a 7.1 percent CAGR in the forecast period owing to investment by large pharmaceutical companies. The Asia Pacific region is expected to expand at a CAGR of 3.6, according to the report, packaging manufacturers are likely to take advantage of the low production and packaging cost in this region, promoting growth.

Additionally, it said the expansion in this region will be propelled by high potential countries, like India and China, which are already leading manufacturers and exporters of pharmaceutical drugs across the globe, and whose governments and private sector are investing more and more in pharmaceutical R&D. The report states that the outstanding growth of the R&D and drug manufacturing markets in these countries could be capitalised upon by global clinical trial packaging manufacturers seeking to profit from the rise of clinical trial activity in the region.

Key materials and trends in the market

According to the report one of the key trends for the clinical trials packaging market is multiply booklet labels. These labels provide multi-functionality features for communicating variable data through labelling and allow packaging manufacturers to summarise enormous documents into compressed spaces. Booklet labels also support labelling requirements that cover the integration of several languages, regulation compliance of multiple countries and accommodation in clear structure and legible content. The rising demand for these kinds of label is anticipated to promote market growth.

In terms of end use, the report indicates that the research laboratories segment will be the most lucrative between now and 2025, anticipated to hold more than 60 percent of the total market share by the end of 2027.

Based on material, the analysts found plastics would lead the overall clinical trial packaging market, having already captured more than half of the market share in 2020. This segment is projected to value as much as $470 million by 2027, growing to 1.7-times its current worth in seven years. Additionally, by product, bottles accounted for 65.1 percent of the market in 2017 and their use should continue to grow, especially as a result of demand for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

Key market players

Some of the top players identified in the report as operating in the clinical trial packaging market are PCI Pharma Services, WuXi AppTec, Corden Pharma GmbH, The Coghlan Group, PAREXEL International Corporation, Almac Group Limited, Fisher Clinical Services, Westrock Company and Bilcare Limited.

However, the analysts stated that the market is highly fragmented, with the top five players holding less than 15 percent of the market share in 2017. As such, the clinical trial packaging industry was found to be highly competitive and, as such, companies are primarily focusing on expanding their regional footprint with the help of mergers, takeovers and acquisitions to serve ongoing clinical trials while also investing in setting up and expanding their overall operations in different markets with economic and regional advantage.


  1. Grand View Research. Clinical Trials Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Phase (Phase I, Phase II, Phase III, Phase IV), By Study Design (Interventional, Observational, Expanded Access), By Indication, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2021 – 2028 [Internet]. Grand View Research; 2021. Available from:
  2. Transparency Market Research. Clinical Trial Packaging Market (Packaging Type: Syringes, Vials & Ampoules, Blisters, Tubes, Bottles, Bags & Pouches, Sachets, Kits or Packs, and Others; Material: Plastic, Glass, Metal, Paper, and Corrugated Fiber; and End Use: Research Laboratories, Clinical Research Organizations, and Drug Manufacturing Facilities) – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2020-2027 [Internet]. Transparency Market Research; 2021. Available from:
  3. Verified Market Research. Global Clinical Trial Packaging Market Size By Product Type, By Material Type, By End User Type, By Geographic Scope And Forecast [Internet]. Verified Market Research; 2020. Available from: