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Packaging and prescription drug plans

A recent survey asked if senior drug plans will have an impact on packaging. Here's a sampling of responses ... • "Seniors will be demanding lower-cost, higher-quality products," said a respondent from a maker of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. "They will go with what is the most cost-efficient since they are on a fixed budget." • "The impact will be the requirement to make pharmaceuticals more in line with commodity goods instead of the super-high-profit business it was. This will require the implementation of processes such as Six Sigma for cost reduction and process improvement, or just-in-time manufacturing and automation." • Besides cost issues, a respondent from a maker of solid-dose and liquid pharmaceuticals said, "The big challenge is helping seniors self-manage their drug dosing given the increasing complexity of their regimens and their declining ability to handle complex tasks requiring memory and organization skills." • "Expect more diversity in how products are packaged. [That will create] additional confusion for consumers [with] the potential for medication errors and product confusion," said the employee of a firm that makes all types of pharmaceuticals. • Another respondent from a firm making pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals, and lyophilized products predicted an "increase in blister packs, dosage-guided packages, and expanded-content labeling." • And how about this response from a professional with a company that makes a wide variety of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, and medical devices: "Watch for direct-to-consumer in the next three to five years taking the place of traditional pharmacy operations."

--By Jim Butschli, Editor
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