Are we approaching a pharmaceutical packaging revolution?

Leading pharma companies including GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca are researching developments such as printed electronics and wireless applications in packaging.

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Leading pharmaceutical companies including GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca are looking at ways to bring in “intelligent” packaging in a bid to shake up the pharma sector.

The organisations are part of the group that is working with research from the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing to examine all aspects of the medicine supply chain.

The REMEDIES project aims to bring “new emerging technologies” to market and is set to complete in March 2018.

Among the technologies the group is investigating are printed electronics, wireless applications and new materials for elements such as blister packs.

The group says printed electronics on medicine packaging could be used to battle counterfeiting, alert patients to product tampering and tell them whether or not the drug is fit for consumption.

It says this smart packaging could also be integrated with near-field communication or radio-frequency identification to improve stock control and logistics.

The Centre for Process Innovation, which is part of the consortium, says: “The integration of printed electronics into packaging opens up a wide range of market opportunities to create added value for the pharmaceutical industry.”

The team is also working on other packaging elements, such as developing new material for blister packaging for pills.

At the end of the project, the team is looking to deliver prototype samples, cost analysis and description of a scalable manufacturing route.

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