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Packaging needs to attract, educate, and train engineers

At last month's International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineers (ISPE) 25th Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, keynote speaker David Pulman, president of global manufacturing and supply at GlaxoSmithKline, stated that our society "has to better educate people, train them, then continue that education in the workplace." Genetech Inc.'s vice president of global quality, Ronald Branning, raised more than a few eyebrows at the event by saying, "last year, China graduated 600,000 engineers. In the United States, that number was 70,000. We need to stimulate engineering."

Nancy St. Laurent, senior engineer of sterile facilities and packaging systems at Lockwood Greene, tells Healthcare Packaging that her most pressing issue is "getting enough qualified engineers for pharmaceutical packaging operations, including sterile filling. There are very few packaging engineers who are thoroughly knowledgeable of the technologies, of the specific equipment used in pharmaceutical packaging, current Good Manufacturing Practices, and the efforts needed to validate this equipment."

Forecasting the Future

What are the most critical healthcare packaging issues your company faces in the next year or two? What trends do you see developing? Beginning with this issue, packaging professionals offer their perspectives in an ongoing series of articles called "Forecasting the Future."

--By Jim Butschli, Editor
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