Attention to single-dose pharmaceutical packaging has grown exponentially: the pandemic certainly played a key role in this, but in reality it was the acceleration of a trend that had already been established in recent years as a response to a real market need. The public demands pharmaceutical products that are practical to use, store, and carry with them in their myriad daily activities. Packaging plays a key role: it must not only protect the drug but facilitate its use and keep it safe even in environments unsuitable for therapeutic treatments, from the office to the gym. This is especially true for the packaging of drugs for tòpic use, such as ointments, creams or ointments, which often lie at the bottom of sports bags, hiking backpacks or suitcases. Prominent among the various packaging solutions for these products are deformable aluminum tubes for pharmaceutical use, which in their smaller diameters are also well suited for dispensing modose or a few doses.
For many people, these are indispensable daily appointments: think of the chronically ill or those who have to undergo treatments for an extended period of time. In all these cases, and in many others, single-dose pharmaceutical packaging can prove an ideal solution. Moreover, the contents are not shared with anyone else and only the narrow amount we need for the dose to be applied is exposed to air and light.
Not surprisingly, one of the areas where the use of single-dose is most evident is in ophthalmic drugs. Single-dose ophthalmic packaging is convenient to carry, safe, lightweight, and its ease of use has enabled many patients to better follow therapeutic indications. This is also true for ophthalmic tubes, which are perfect for controlling dispensing and application, even on uncooperative subjects (such as young children or animals).
But this growing market demand must necessarily come to terms with environmental sustainability. Faced with the huge amount of medical waste produced during the pandemic, the pharmaceutical sector had to start questioning the need to find solutions capable of respecting the health of the planet, as well as human health (we have also discussed this at length in this postblog). An awareness that not only invests packaging, but the entire production and distribution chain, with particular attention to the ‘responsible use of energy resources. This touches in particular those drugs that require, for their distribution, the strictest respect of the cold chain. Primary and secondary packaging can prove decisive in this area: according to the 2020 “Biopharma Cold Chain Logistics Sustainability Survey” report conducted by Peli Biothermal, 53 percent of the companies surveyed consider it a priority to choose packaging that not only ensures quality and safety in the cold chain but also protects the environment.
A choice that is by no means as simple as it appears. When we talk about sustainability in packaging, we are inclined to consider mainly the issues related to disposal, but we must also keep in mind other aspects: how much energy does its production require? What amount of waste does it involve? What impact does it have on the distribution chain? The weight of the packaging, its bulk and impact resistance are key in determining the type of transport and its impact on the environment: lighter, less bulky and space-optimized packaging could mean one less container to ship and therefore less CO2 in circulation! In addition, disposal options need to be considered very well. “Recyclable” is not necessarily synonymous with “environmentally friendly”-what percentage of the material chosen can be recycled? At 20% or 80%? Are there actually processes suitable for its recovery? And how much energy does the recycling process require?
Once again, aluminum tubes may prove to be the winning solution. Here … good reasons why aluminum tubes are the perfect single-serve pharmaceutical packaging:
- are a great classic of packaging for the pharmaceutical sector: therefore, they do not need much regulatory intervention because they are already a known and established reality;
- are likewise known and appreciated by the public, who identify the aluminum tube with the “drug.”
- They are truly “green”: when properly disposed of, aluminum tubes can be easily recovered and recycled, even if they are dirty, very small or completely crushed! Aluminum is infinitely 100% recyclable and its recycling process requires 95% less energy than production from raw material.
- The single-dose aluminum tubes are lightweight, easy to carry and handle, even in less-than-optimal conditions, such as traveling, because they allow for excellent dispensing control.
If you are considering adopting aluminum tubes for your single-dose pharmaceuticals, please contact us: we will be happy to send you a sample tube and answer any questions you may have!