Revolutionary biomass-based plastic used for blister packaging

Astellas’ use of biomass-based plastics represents the world’s first use of biomass plastic for drug blister packaging.

Different colour pills in blister packaging

Astellas has begun using biomass-based plastics made from plant-derived materials in blister packages as the primary packaging for pharmaceutical products. This is the world’s first use of biomass plastic for drug blister packages.

The blister package is made of biomass-based plastic, polyethylene derived from sugarcane, as 50 percent of its raw material. It is an environmentally friendly packaging that aligns with the concept of carbon neutrality to balance greenhouse gas emissions and absorption.

Blister packages as tablet packaging containers are required to have high tablet protection and usability. For example, strength that can withstand impact and sealability that will keep outside air from entering, while maintaining enough softness so that the tablets can be easily taken out. The visibility of the packaged tablets and the ease in which it can be separated are also key considerations. Astellas, by using its packaging technology cultivated over many years, has actualised the production of the biomass-based plastic sheets that can be mass-produced while achieving tablet protection function and usability.

In financial year 2021, Astellas will start using the biomass-based plastic blister package for the “Irribow® Tablet 5µg” (ramosetron hydrochloride) for irritable bowel syndrome. According to the company, it will continue to switch from the conventional petroleum-derived plastic blister package to the biomass-based plastic blister package for other products as well, and it will also seek new packaging materials that are superior in terms of sustainability.

The adoption of biomass-based plastics in blister packages is one of the efforts towards Astella’s “Deepen our Engagement in Sustainability” as one of its strategic goals in its Corporate Strategic Plan 2021. Astellas also believes that this will contribute to Goal 13 of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”. 

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