It’s been a busy year for packaging professionals in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. We’ve seen a number of exciting packaging advances emerge with the potential to transform patient care, and we’ve seen a lot of regulatory activity raise the bar for packaging and labeling.
Here we count down to the top 6 topics trending in healthcare packaging, according to the most popular articles PMP News published in 2017. We start with the 6th top category . . .
Ensuring package integrity is a top concern for pharmaceutical and medical packaging professionals. Bhaskar Ramakrishnan’s article, “4 options for in-line 100% seal inspection,” examines the potential of integrating machine vision into production lines for 100% non-destructive inspection of seal integrity. It was one of 2017’s top articles.
Several articles on package testing from past years also attracted attention in 2017. These include “Strength and integrity, part one: The basics of medical package testing” and “Strength and integrity, part two: Basics of seal-strength testing,” both by Stephen Franks, and "Package performance testing conundrum: Solved!" by Patrick Nolan.
Above image: Example of a Class III medical device seal that contains a hair that is undetectable to the human eye. Image courtesy DWFritz Automation Inc.
NEXT: Product identification
#5: Product identification
With packaging professionals managing Unique Device Identification rules and the now required (yet not enforced) pharmaceutical serialization, it’s no wonder that product identification is our 5th most popular topic in 2017. Our article, “7 Identification technologies on display,” highlighted technologies exhibited at Pack Expo Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging Expo this past September.
Another past article was also popular in 2017: "GS1 DataMatrix: FNC1 versus GS as the Variable-Length Field Separator Character" by George Wright IV.
Above image: OPTEL's BottleTracker and NJM Packaging’s TROTTER W. Image courtesy NJM
As one might expect for highly regulated industries such as pharma and medtech, our 2017 articles on regulatory developments attracted a lot of attention, coming in as our 4th most popular topic in 2017.
Our article, "New medical device regulations could impact packaging—and not just in Europe," recapped the changing regulatory landscape around the world as explained by Thierry Wagner, DuPont’s regulatory affairs director—Europe, Middle East & Africa, in the Webcast, “Speed Up Your Compliance Process—With Help from DuPont Tyvek.” He was joined by cospeaker Nicole Kaller, application & package engineering specialist—Europe, Middle East & Africa, who detailed DuPont’s efforts to help MDMs prepare documentation for their product regulatory submissions and certifications.
Another popular regulatory story in 2017 examined FDA’s plans for pharmaceutical serialization requirements. Several suppliers working with pharma offered their perspectives in “What does FDA’s DSCSA enforcement delay really mean?”
Above image source: Shutterstock/garagestock
NEXT: Compliance packaging and drug-delivery innovation
#3: Compliance packaging and drug-delivery innovation
Innovations in compliance packaging and drug-delivery devices transformed patient experiences in 2017. Our two articles on respected awards programs this past year attracted attention, propelling the topic of compliance packaging and drug delivery to our 3rd most popular category of 2017. "Compliance-prompting packaging innovation celebrated" showcased the winners of the Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council’s annual completion. And our article "Pharmapack celebrated packaging and drug-delivery innovation during 20th anniversary" shared winning packages offering features for helping patients track doses, verify product security, inject doses safely, and more.
Above image: The 2016 HCPC Compliance Package of the Year: Merck Zepatier Medication Package from WestRock. Image courtesy HCPC
A packaging team’s to-do list can be a long one, and extra hands are often needed. Companies may also be operating more leanly these days, so staffing during especially busy periods could be challenging. Our article, “A new approach to staffing a packaging team," presented a new solution from Network Partners. The article was the 2nd most popular published in 2017.
Above image source: Shutterstock/iQoncept
NEXT: Medical packaging design
#1: Medical Packaging design
The leading topic on PMP News in 2017 was medical package design. Brian Whalen’s article, "3 steps for designing the ideal medical device packaging system," lead the pack in 2017. Whalen urged professionals to “start packaging design early in the product development process” among other considerations.
Our next popular medical packaging article in 2017, "DuPont launches a new global strategy for medical packaging," explained how DuPont is evolving to support industry trends toward globalization and consolidation. The strategy unfolded as DuPont kicked off its celebration of the 50th anniversary of Tyvek.
Above image source: CleanCut Technologies LLC
Editor's note: The most popular topics were chosen based on the number of article page views between January 1, 2017, and December 20, 2017; articles with similar themes were grouped together under certain topics.
Start the New Year off right by planning to attend WestPack and Medical Design & Manufacturing West February 6-8, 2018, in Anaheim. Technology experts will be on hand to address your needs for packaging, advanced manufacturing, testing, regulatory support, and more—all in one location!