Patient-centred pharmaceutical packaging: are we there yet?

Despite tremendous innovation in the realm of pharmaceutical therapeutics, the packaging of medicines has been staid. In this article, Giana Carli Lorenzini from the Technical University of Denmark investigates the potential of patient-centred pharmaceutical packaging.

It is fair to say that patient-centred packaging is not mainstream for pharmaceutical packaging innovation and, furthermore, changing existing market‑approved packaging is unlikely to happen. It holds great promise, however, when there is opportunity for development of new packaging, provided a patient-centric approach is considered from the start. To achieve patient-centred packaging, multiple stakeholders (including the patients themselves) must be onboard and share a vision of treatment that responds to patients’ needs in their reality of care. It can only be achieved with a system that embraces it, including regulatory and technological development.

The pharmaceutical industry is an R&D-based industry, where innovation plays a central role in the creation of new drugs. Decades-long innovation processes have meant that breakthrough treatments for numerous debilitating conditions are now accessible to millions of patients worldwide.1 Regardless of how innovative a new drug is, it must be contained and packaged to deliver it safely to patients. However, unlike its development of new drugs, the pharmaceutical industry has been conservative with its choices of pharmaceutical packaging,2 resorting to standard designs for decades, despite its important role of protecting and delivering drugs that can be lifesaving. Why is that so?

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