The packaging for Nasacort Allergy 24HR has been recognized with a 2015 WorldStar in the Pharmaceutical & Medical packaging category. The package is a fold-over carded blister intended to differentiate the product from other nasal sprays as well as emphasize that Nasacort Allergy 24HR is the same prescription-strength product consumers may have received from their doctors, explains Nancy Limback, manager, packaging innovation & development at Sanofi.
The marketing team from Sanofi’s Consumer Healthcare Division, Chattem Inc., and Sanofi UK R&D worked with Sanofi Package Development to identify the consumer and retailer needs that also became part of the project design inputs, explains Limback. “Providing top quality product to consumers/patients is our main priority and always non-negotiable,” Limback tells PMP News. “To do so, detailed product stability and regulatory requirements are identified early as design inputs.”
Limback reports that Goldstein Group, Reed-Lane, and Rohrer Corp. all played key roles during the project. “The advantage of leveraging not only internal resources but external partners really helped this package hit a homerun,” she says.
The Goldstein Group handled graphic design. “The designers used the same variation of blue from the prescription label to help maintain brand equity,” Limback says. “They also included a blue-to-orange striped sunburst at the top of the package to highlight the product’s 24-hour efficacy and represent 24 hours of relief.”
Contract packager Reed Lane “helped identify solutions to address some of the hurdles we faced during development and performed the secondary packaging operation,” she says.
Rohrer “supported the Nasacort team through development of the secondary packaging and manufacturing of the ‘N’ thermoform and the booklet card,” she says. And “MPS worked with us to develop the literature with customized paper and a fold pattern that was functional without the use of adhesive.”
Limback says that the package development team needed “to maintain the same direct contact materials, barrier properties, and surface area as the primary prescription package. The Sanofi Package Development team worked closely with Chattem Marketing and the Holmes Chapel, UK, team (where the product is manufactured) to develop an updated look for the primary package with a new pump overcap. The prescription bottle was modified only slightly to accept the new OTC overcap.”
Sanofi chose blister packaging so that the product would “stand out on the retail shelves,” says Limback. With a blister thermoformed in the shape of an “N,” “the patented design reinforces and protects the Nasacort brand identity. Consumers prefer to see the actual product in the package, and the “N” thermoform allows product visibility. This visibility is provided by the ‘N’ thermoform, which also addresses the California slack fill requirements.”
Sanofi also needed the secondary package to be tamper evident, meet shelf-size requirements, work well in different display platforms, and operate in various retailer shelf-pusher systems, Limback explains.
And, as “a first-in-class product, “Chattem felt it was important to provide educational information along with the regulated copy in an easy-to-read format. The booklet card, which is printed on two sides, provides generous space for graphics and text. It was important to offer clear and compelling graphics to help educate consumers on the product use and benefits. The reclosable front partial booklet cover helps provide this information in addition to the regulated copy,” she says.
The team did face some challenges, but Limback says they were overcome by detailed planning, open communication and testing by the global cross-functional team.
First, the project required “a secondary package that closely matched the barrier properties of the prescription carton,” she explains. “For the first time, we utilized low-migration inks and coatings in a patterned application on the booklet card to avoid direct contact with the labeled bottles.”
In addition, “to provide circulation within the secondary package, ventilation ports were added to the booklet card and ventilation channels were added to the thermoform,” she says. “We also placed the electronic security tags on the compact package without direct bottle contact.”
The team was also challenged to identify “a reclose technology that worked on two dissimilar surfaces (thermoform and card) and could be applied automatically,” she says. “We tested a multitude of technologies including various patterns of adhesives and tapes before selecting the current pressure sensitive wafer from our vendor, CCL Label, with zoned adhesive application. Various booklet card scores and prebreaks were tested to support the reclose feature.
“Additionally, we had to determine how to hold the round bottle with the label facing forward in the thermoform without the standard use of adhesive,” she continues. “Our solution led us to carefully position each bottle in the thermoform with the label facing forward before the backing booklet card is positioned and sealed.”
Sanofi also wanted to use recycled content in the package. “We wanted to create an environmentally friendly package, so it was critical that the Nasacort Allergy 24HR package use less paperboard than a similar sized standard carton,” she says. “The paperboard has been certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), which sets standards and conducts audits on sustainable forest management. The thermoform is made from RPET, which uses a minimum of 40% recycled PET resin content. Our vendors had experience in working with these materials, and therefore, the challenges were minimal.”
Hard work paid off. “The package was designed and tested to ensure that it is protected throughout the various channels of distribution,” Limback continues.
“This inventive new package design for Sanofi’s launch of Nasacort into retail is another example of how Rohrer can work closely with a customer through design ideation sessions to a successful mass market launch, “ adds Rob van Gilse, vice president of Sales and Marketing of Rohrer Corporation. “It highlights Rohrer’s ability to meet the market demands of retail packaging while distinguishing our customers’ product on shelf.”
Limback is proud of the team’s effort and the industry recognition they’ve received. “As someone who has worked in the package development arena in different roles for many years, winning a recognized packaging industry award has been on my bucket list for a long time,” she says. “At first, we won an AmeriStar Award for the Nasacort Allergy 24HR package, which was an honor for the corporation as well as the project team. This win allowed us to enter our packaging into the WorldStar Awards. It was then such a thrill to find out that the Nasacort Allergy 24HR package won a 2015 WorldStar Award. What a great validation of our team’s efforts and the importance of package innovation worldwide! On behalf of the team, I can certainly say we are honored to join that esteemed group of winners.”
Limback will speak about innovation during the June 10 Keynote: “Pharma Package Innovation – Method or Magic?” at Pharmapack North America conference in New York City.