Packaging International News - July 2012

Smart Pharmaceutical Packaging Could Save Lives

Posted by Christine Alford - Packaging International Reporter on 26/07/2012 - 06:55:00

Smart Pharmaceutical Packaging

Have you forgotten to take your medication today? Fear not, that flashing, buzzing packet on the corner of the kitchen counter is your pill packet reminding you to.

Smart pill packets that flash and make noise with brightly coloured graphics and bar codes are some of the ideas for future medical packaging, which have recently been released by the Health Care Compliance Packaging Council (HCPC).

The HCPC, a U.S based council, has recently released a consultation paper, which supports medical packaging that is specifically designed to prompt us to take the right amount of our pills at the right time of day.

Smart Pharmaceutical Packaging

Is this important? Well, according to an article published in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy, 125,000 deaths in the U.S every year are caused by medication that is not taken correctly. The article also estimated that 10 to 25 percent of the country's hospital and nursing admissions are rooted to medication, which has been wrongly administered.

Over the last two decades eight studies have also compiled a spread of data that has concurred medical packaging can be a key influence in preventing the incorrect administration of medicine. Data showed that this can be done by ‘prompt packaging' that has obvious guidance displaying how and when medication should be taken.

Some of the suggested medication prompts range from printed calendars, which are already present on some birth control pill packs but could be extended into other areas to guide patience through a cycle of medication. Not as subtle as a printed calendar but possibly more affective, or annoying, are smart caps, which have timers, flashing lights and buzzers that go off when it is time to medicate.

Other recommendations featured in the consultation paper were bar coded blistered pill packaging that can assist institutions in accurately administering medication to patience.

The aim of the packaging prompts, spokesmen from (HCPC) said to Packaging Digest, was to make sure the right patient gets the right medication at the right time.

Image copyright Tom Varco - Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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