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Pharma packaging innovation

New EC guidelines set the agenda for pharmaceutical packaging innovation.

Revisions to the European Commission’s guidelines for the distribution of pharmaceuticals could provide the springboard for a new generation of more effective and sustainable insulated packaging. The revised guidelines include ‘rules for transport in particular to protect medicinal products against breakage, adulteration and theft, and to ensure that temperature conditions are maintained within acceptable limits during transport’.
The new guidelines, which will affect wholesalers and distributors in particular, come into force in September 2013 and set out the responsibilities for demonstrating that appropriate packaging is being used properly and that strict procedures are in place at every stage in the supply chain. When auditing and analysis of current products and practices reveals failings in the supply chain, companies will have to look for more reliable and innovative solutions for pharmaceuticals distribution.

The multi award winning Wool Packaging Company is poised to provide just this kind of innovative solution, with funding from the UK government backed Technology Strategy Board to ‘Fast-Track’ the ‘Development of Prototype’ packaging, specifically for distributing  temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals. The latest TSB award follows an initial award in 2012 for the completion of a ‘Proof of Concept’ study to demonstrate the commercial viability of wool based insulated packaging for the medical sector.

Angela Morris, CEO of The Wool Packaging Company, explains, “Globally, there is a realisation that current oil-based insulated packaging materials such as Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) or Polyethylene are not only unsustainable but also failing to provide consistent insulation performance under all temperature conditions”.

Morris continues. “It is absolutely critical that many medicines and vaccines are maintained within tight temperature ranges, e.g. 2°C to 8°C and 15°C to 20°C, during global transit and under extremes of ambient temperatures. The inherent properties of wool will enable vaccines and medicines to be delivered safely according to these time and temperature criteria, thus providing a viable and superior alternative to existing Polystyrene and Polyethylene packaging”.

The Wool Packaging Company already supplies bespoke Woolcool insulated packaging to one of the world’s leading wholesalers of veterinary medical supplies, Henry Schein Animal Health. Their Woolcool is predominantly used for distributing highly temperature sensitive medical products, including vaccines, as the packaging has been validated in the UK by MHRA to maintain internal temperatures between 2°C and 8°C for more than 72 hours. The cushioning fleece liners also protect fragile contents against breakages in transit.

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