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Smart Packaging

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 10:36am
Mike Auerbach, Editor-in Chief

After all the chemistry is done, and after all the scale-up, and testing and final manufacturing is done – you have to put your product in something don’t you? And while smart companies consider the final packaging of their product concurrently with the development of the product, sometimes it’s evident that even the smartest companies fail to consider every aspect of their packaging when it finally comes in contact with the consumer.

For example, I’m currently taking a prescription antacid that is in capsule form.  Somewhere along the way it was determined that the product needed a desiccant canister to control moisture. Unfortunately the size of the desiccant canister in the bottle makes it almost impossible to get the product out of the bottle. A prime example of dumb packaging.

There are other examples, and the pharmaceutical industry isn’t the only place where dumb packaging occurs. Have you ever had to find a scissor to open the clamshell packaging that holds a new scissor? Have you ever had your favorite salty snack end up on the floor because the bag “exploded” while you were trying to open it? More dumb packaging.

But I’m not here to bash, I’m here to praise – and let’s take a look at smart packaging.

At the INTERPHEX show held this past March in New York City, examples of smart packaging were on display. These examples went way beyond mere cartons, inks and plastics.  On display were the latest packaging innovations to inform, educate and help consumers comply with their medication schedule.

For example, at Rondo-Pak’s booth, Victor Dixon, the company’s President and COO, showed me new technologies that integrated an invisible, smart phone code that links the consumer to more product information. Another product was a clinical trial package that integrated small video screen into the carton that could play dosing information to the patient. Fascinating stuff.

Mr. Dixon later explained to me that smart packaging is a growth area for the industry. Future packages will incorporate technologies such as near field communication, low-intensity Bluetooth, and even nanotech materials are being considered for packaging.

Its obvious packaging is getting an education, and we as consumers will only benefit.

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