“A Spoonful of Sugar” is a famous song performed by Julie Andrews’ character in the classic 1964 Walt Disney musical film “Mary Poppins.” Now, a technology and product design firm called Cambridge Design Partnership (CDP) has introduced a concept called The BeeBetter single-use pouch that “helps the medicine go down.”
Although not yet in use commercially, BeeBetter employs what CDP calls “an intuitive design coupled with an injection of fun—resulting in a single-use medicine pouch that is a world away from traditional pharmaceutical packaging.” BeeBetter uses a hexagonal shape to tout the bee/honeycomb connection, but CDP says different pouch shapes could be used.
Pouch material composition, structural options, thickness, barrier properties, etc., could be developed to meet specific customer application needs. For example, shapes can be amended to the extent that material and container/closure restrictions allow. From an equipment perspective, CDP says if a second formulation behind the frangible seal is added, minor equipment adjustments or additional filling steps may be necessary.
To use the BeeBetter pouch, a patient pushes on a childproof mouthpiece, which then pops up ready for use. The correct amount of medication is dispensed as the user squeezes the pack and sucks on the mouthpiece. “And there’s a sweet surprise at the end—in the form of a spoonful of honey—to encourage the patient to finish the whole dose,” according to CDP.
The company developed hexagonally shaped pouches for the recent Pharmapack Europe show in Paris. These samples measured 73 mm (2.87 in.) H x 86 mm (3.38 in.) W x 19 mm (.75 in.) D. CDP says these pouches could hold about 30 mL of product in a stand-up form, and about 10 mL in a sachet format.
Bastiaan de Leeuw, Head of Drug Delivery Business Development at CDP, says, “The BeeBetter concept is designed to demonstrate how putting the patient at the center of packaging design can transform the user’s experience. Once opened, the BeeBetter could be given to a child to hold and operate themselves—safe in the knowledge that they are getting the correct amount of medication. And the honey acts as an incentive for the child to finish the dose—once the top section of the foil pouch is empty, the user’s sucking action breaks the frangible seal inside, separating the honey at the bottom from the rest of the contents.
“We wanted to challenge the misconception that children’s medicine needs to come out of a bottle and involve a measuring spoon or plastic syringe and an unpleasant experience for a child who is already not feeling great, So, we decided to look at the problem from the child’s perspective and design packaging that is not only easy to use but also has a fun element.”
As a fee-for-service product development business, CDP works with clients on product development. “So our aim with BeeBetter,” explains de Leeuw, “is to demonstrate our capabilities when it comes to innovative packaging, and start pharma companies in thinking differently about potential new solutions.”
BeeBetter functionality benefits
• Senior-friendly: Beyond its use for children, BeeBetter could also benefit elderly patients who struggle with traditional medicine bottles, particularly those with memory problems, as the pouch would make it easier to keep track of each dose.
• On-the-go convenience: Younger adults could find it useful when traveling, as it would be more convenient than carrying a bottle of cough medicine and risking it leaking.
• Other applications: The packaging idea could also be used in non-medical applications, ranging from energy gels for cyclists to a replacement for ketchup sachets.
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