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5 creative medical packages earn 2019 AmeriStar Awards

7 Min Read
5 creative medical packages earn 2019 AmeriStar Awards
Because this Orthofix thermoformed tray only holds the head of the screw used in medical surgeries, the coating on the threads are protected from scuffing damage.

A handful of medical packages, each outstanding in its own way, have won AmeriStar Awards this year: the Orthofix Medical Tray, Target Simply Balanced Vitamins packaging, Klearfold Keeper CR, theDuallok child-resistant packaging systemand GlaxoSmithKline’s Allergy Relief Nasal Spray packaging.

Overall, the 2019 competition included more than 50 entrants and 17 product categories. These five medical winners were entered in the Drug and Pharmaceutical, Medical Device and Other categories. The Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) administers the AmeriStar Awards competition annually.


1. Orthofix Medical Tray

Entered in the Medical Device category, the Orthofix Medical Tray by Placon is a custom-designed package that holds medical screws used for surgical implantation. The primary package comprises a retainer tray and tray cover; two medical screws are secured within the retainer tray, with each screw head locked into the tray and the body of each screw suspended inside the tray. This configuration protects the hydroxyapatite coating on the screws from abrasion during shipping and handling.

The filled, covered retainer tray fits inside a pair of double sterile barrier trays, and the assembled components are packed in a paperboard carton. Orthofix had previously validated the double sterile barrier trays and uses them for an array of other medical products. Incorporating the pre-validated trays into the screw-package design saved more than $50,000 in package validation costs.

“Our design team continues to lead the industry to innovative packaging design in the medical market space. This packaging design was a result of customer collaboration to find a solution that we hope will carry forward a long-term success for this product,” says Derek Skogen, senior product manager at Placon.

“The unique feature that sets this package apart is the ability to suspend and hold the medical screw in place without touching anything that could cause any rubbing or abrasive friction that might result in the hydroxyapatite coating being removed or scuffed prior to use in the medical or operating room,” Skogen adds.

NEXT: Target Simply Balanced Vitamins


2. Target Simply Balanced Vitamins

Packaging for Target Simply Balanced Vitamins, developed by TricorBraun, was an AmeriStar winner in the Drug and Pharmaceutical category this year. This premium packaging for a new line of upscale nutraceuticals offers operational efficiencies, child-resistance and senior-friendliness.

One bottle and closure design, in standardized sizes, is used for the product line, streamlining packaging-component manufacturing and storage. The bottle has an oblong shape, which differentiates the products from competitors on-shelf. The oblong packages are also more space-efficient than round bottles, which adds storage, distribution and merchandising efficiencies.

The bottles are designed with a wider-than-usual mouth, which enables faster filling and easy, hygienic dispensing. The transparent bottles give consumers a view of the product at retail and let them monitor how much is left in the package over time.

Color-coded labels and closures make it easy for shoppers to identify the various products in the Simply Balanced Vitamins line. The push-and-turn child-resistant closure pairs a colorful round cap with a clear, oblong overcap. The closure keeps children from opening the bottle but is easy for older consumers to open; directions for opening are embossed on the overcap.

It’s obvious when the consumer has not replaced the closure on the package correctly, because the cap juts out horizontally from the bottle. When the closure is flush with the oblong shape of the bottle, the package is securely closed.

The recyclable bottle and overcap are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and the resin used for the bottle is formulated with a UV inhibitor to extend the products’ shelf life.

NEXT: Klearfold Keeper CR for cannabis


3. Klearfold Keeper CR

The Klearfold Keeper CR carton from HLP Klearfold, a transparent, child-resistant package for legalized medicinal and recreational cannabis, was a winner entered in this year’s Other category.

This clear plastic package showcases products on-shelf at cannabis dispensaries, elevating the items’ brand image and enabling consumers to see what they are buying. The tray-and-sleeve design conforms with Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) standards for child-resistant (CR), senior-friendly packaging.

During CPSC certification, “we quickly learned that because the test-subject children, aged 42 to 51 months, could see the CR package contents, they were significantly more motivated to try to get inside,” says Pat McGee, vp, marketing, at HLP Klearfold. “It was critical that the Klearfold Keeper CR be designed to provide security commensurate with the increased attention level of these very motivated children.”

To open the locked pack requires pressing a release tab on the carton; this unlocks the internal tray, which contains the product. Per CPSC requirements for multi-use packaging, the tray remains attached to the package after opening. Instructions for opening are printed on the package.

“In addition to delivering product visibility, the Klearfold Keeper CR’s plastic substrate offers far greater tear resistance than paperboard,” McGee says. “And the Keeper CR’s glue seams, often a failure point with paperboard CR cartons, are chemically bonded to provide an added measure of product security. The substrate resiliency allows for a simple but very effective locking mechanism, permitting the package to re-lock many times for multiple-use applications.”

Klearfold Keeper CR packages can be made from durable box-grade and thermoforming-grade recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) containing 30% post-consumer recycled content; bio-PET with 30% of the material derived from plant-based sources; or amorphous polyethylene terephthalate (APET).For product protection, the internal trays are molded to the precise shape and size of the cannabis product.

NEXT: Duallok child-resistant packaging system


4. Duallok child-resistant packaging system

The Duallok child-resistant packaging system, designed by Burgopak for nutraceuticals and legalized cannabis, won a 2019 AmeriStar Award in the Drug and Pharmaceutical category. The pack’s child-resistant design complies with the federal government’s regulations for poison-prevention packaging (16 C.F.R. 1700).

Duallok packages feature a patented double-lock design that thwarts children’s attempts to open the pack while remaining intuitive for adults. By pressing two tabs on the sides of the package and then pushing the tray out, adult users can easily access package contents. The tabs are part of a thin polypropylene component housed inside the package.

The package structure includes a sleeve, inner tray and product-specific insert to hold the contents in place; these components are all made from paperboard. A layer of biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film on the board enhances tear resistance.

In addition to safeguarding children, the Duallok system offers a luxury-packaging alternative for cannabis and other controlled substances. Because the child-resistant feature is so easy for adults to use, only a few simple opening instructions are required on the outside of the package. During user testing, even consumers with arthritis could easily operate the pack.

The Duallok package can be customized for various products, including vape cartridges, pre-rolled cannabis cigarettes and pharmaceuticals.


NEXT: Finally, GSK’s Allergy-Relief Nasal Spray


5. Allergy-Relief Nasal Spray

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Health took home an AmeriStar Award for sustainability improvements to GSK’s allergy-relief nasal-spray packaging.Entered in the Other category, the redesigned nasal-spray packaging significantly reduces plastic use and shrinks the packaging’s carbon footprint by up to 50%.

The Flonase and Sensimist nasal-spray brands are the first in GSK’s respiratory category to receive a a complete sustainability assessment. The brand owner assembled a cross-functional team to make all parts of the nasal-spray packaging more environmentally friendly without sacrificing product performance or patient safety.

The team worked on the nasal-spray pump and actuator assembly, thermoformed clamshell, drug-facts labeling and product literature. All changes have been approved by relevant health agencies.

GSK has vowed to reduce its environmental impact by 25% by 2030 (versus the baseline year of 2016) by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water use and by repurposing waste for “beneficial use.”

About the Author(s)

Kate Bertrand Connolly

Freelance Writer

Kate Bertrand Connolly has been covering innovations, trends, and technologies in packaging, branding, and business since 1981.

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