Feeling pressured?

No wonder. Your company is likely being squeezed by regulations, validation issues, new technologies such as advanced machine controls and RFID, not to mention a host of broader issues ranging from individual patient compliance to a potential global bird flu pandemic. If that's not enough to spike your blood pressure, all these challenges hit at a time when the public opinion of the pharmaceutical industry is about the same as it is for the tobacco business. That's according to Carl Fearn, sales director for IMS Health in Australia, during his speech at last month's ISPE Annual Meeting. Fearn attributed the information to a recent Harris consumer poll, declaring, "That's just not right, since our products help save lives." Healthcare packaging professionals face numerous critical issues. One of the most alarming threats facing industry and consumers is counterfeit drugs. The topic was discussed at the ISPE meeting in Phoenix, as well as at October's Cold Chain Distribution for Pharmaceuticals 2005 Conference in Philadelphia, at September's Frontline Solutions Conference and Expo in Chicago, and at last month's PIRA International Innovations in Security Technology Conference in Chicago.

At three of those events, speakers or audience members discussed investigative medical reporter and Rhodes Scholar Katherine Eban's book, Dangerous Doses. The book reads like a best-selling fiction novel. Unfortunately, it's nonfiction.

Counterfeiting is one topic of Healthcare Packaging's series of articles called "Forecasting the Future," which debuts on screen 1 of this issue with a report on the need to attract, educate, and train engineers. While we thank those packaging professionals who have already shared their expertise on these issues, we also extend the opportunity for you to become a thought leader by voicing your opinions on future healthcare packaging issues and trends.

--By Jim Butschli, Editor