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Healthcare packaging makes a difference

Welcome to 2006. What does the new year hold for packagers of healthcare-related products? To find out, we spoke with veteran packaging professionals for a series of articles called "Forecasting the Future." Watch for the matching icon on stories in this issue about lean manufacturing at Smith & Nephew Orthopedics, pondering packaging machinery and materials advances, evaluating outsourcing and the use of contract packagers, packaging management strategies, and some candid views on validation. The experts interviewed for this series are: Nancy St. Laurent, senior engineer of sterile facilities and packaging systems at Lockwood Greene;

John J. White, Jr., engineering project manager at Smith & Nephew Orthopedics; Dana M. Guazzo, Ph.D., and president of package development consulting firm RxPax; and David Rudd, senior engineering specialist with Cardinal Health.

As mentioned in this column last month when this series began, healthcare packaging pros face enormous pressures. The good news is that those challenges present opportunities to make a significant impact on healthcare in the U.S., if not around the globe.

Guazzo says, "Companies are looking at more ways to improve patient compliance and reduce medication errors through single-use packaging." Improving patient compliance has life-saving implications.

Guazzo also sees an opportunity for packaging to play a role in healthcare economics. "With skyrocketing healthcare costs, many are looking to packaging for solutions." White agrees, saying, "Cost containment will continue to be a big focus for the medical device industry. With attention focused on rising healthcare costs, it is our responsibility to improve packaging costs and reduce the impact on the customer." Healthcare packaging makes a difference in people's lives!

--By Jim Butschli, Editor
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