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In the last few years, the drugs packaging industry has successfully accepted the various challenges in the pharmaceuticals sector and devised suitable strategies for this highly specialised business. Thanks to its huge capacity for innovation, the supply industry to the former “pharmacy of the world” is also well equipped for the future.

 

Pharmaceuticals packages have to perform numerous tasks. They have to not only meet the complex needs and constraints of technology and safety, but also win through at the point of sale against a host of competing products. This applies particularly to over-the-counter medicines, although the competitive pressure among prescription drugs has risen significantly due to the increase in generics.


 


More and more medicines are being developed for which manufacturers are called upon to achieve greater complexity with ever smaller batch sizes. There is a trend away from standardisation and towards individualised treatment. For plant manufacturers and packaging machine manufacturers, the high flexibility and rapid retooling already demanded in the market is thus intensifying further.

 

 

The fact that patient leaflets in a medicine package do not always have to be in printed form is illustrated by the latest further developments in packaging equipment technology, now made possible for the first time by near-field communication (NFC). Facilitating cashless payment and keyless vehicle entry, NFC is already familiar in everyday life. Thanks to widespread smartphone use, contactless and wireless short-distance data exchange has also become of interest to the packaging sector. The possible applications range from reading-out the patient leaflet and the automatic re-ordering of drugs through to more detailed information.