Medical Product Packaging Today: Market and Opportunities

The pharmaceutical industry is one of the medical fields that is rapidly growing today, as healthcare professionals continuously discover new illnesses and develop advanced technologies to treat them.

Researchers have recently found new drugs for treating breast, prostate, and colon cancers. HIV treatment is also progressing with the approval of a drug combination.

The COVID-19 pandemic also helped transform the pharma industry in the past two years. In fact, the one-year development of the COVID-19 vaccine is considered the fastest in medical history, given that vaccines typically take 10–15 years to make.

Due to these recent developments, the value of the global pharmaceutical manufacturing market reached $405.52 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow by $813.31 billion by 2026. Included in this growth is the medical packaging market.

Good medical packaging protects drugs, medicines, and other products from damage and contamination with other substances. If you want to learn more about the medical packaging market, this article will cover all the statistics and trends you need to know.

An Overview of the Medical Packaging Market

The medical packaging market covers multiple segments, regions, and players. Here are five medical packaging statistics to highlight the changes in the industry.

  • The healthcare packaging market’s value hit $182.72 billion in 2021 (Introspective Market Research)
    People’s changing lifestyles and the increase in chronic diseases among senior citizens contributed to the growth of the healthcare packaging market. The COVID-19 pandemic also greatly influenced this, affecting the supply and demand for raw materials worldwide.

    Despite many restrictions in the supply chain, the market is still expected to witness a moderate growth rate in the coming years.

  • The pharmaceutical packaging market is predicted to reach $144 billion by 2027 (Allied Market Research)
    Pharmaceutical companies are now expected to develop eco-friendly, sustainable packaging solutions and increase product innovations and business partnerships. These changes mean adopting advanced manufacturing processes to meet new consumer demands.

  • The value of the glass packaging market is projected to hit $25 billion by 2026 (Research and Markets)
    Pharmaceutical companies mostly use glass to store liquid medicines because it is impervious to air and moisture and chemically resistant to other products. Due to its inert nature, glass packaging materials will continue to be in high demand. The U.S., Canada, Japan, China, and Europe will drive this segment’s 7.7% estimated growth rate.

  • The U.S. accounts for 34.87% of the global pharmaceutical packaging market (Research and Markets)
    The U.S. currently leads the global pharmaceutical packaging market, preceding China, Canada, and Japan. North America will continue to hold this position as most pharmaceutical companies, advanced technology, and research platforms are located in the region.

  • Personalized medicines accounted for 39% of all new drugs approved in 2020 (Personalized Medicine Coalition)
    The increased demand for personalized medicines with custom packaging has driven pharmaceutical companies to modify their production lines and logistics. Custom packaging has also pushed pharmaceutical manufacturers to use machines that can produce vials, prefilled syringes, and auto-injectors to meet demand quickly.

Pharmaceutical companies are pressured to meet more modern and functional packaging demands as they create new drugs and medicines. Below are some of the top trends shaping the medical packaging market today.

  1. More child-resistant packaging designs
    Accidental ingestion of medicine among children is not new, but pharmaceutical companies still recognize it as a grave health hazard. This is where child-resistant packaging (CRP) comes into play.

    Medical packaging developers continuously experiment with CRPs, such as child-safe caps, alarmed packages, and containers with other multi-step mechanisms. Some have also created lenticular 3D packaging designs that distort depth perception to discourage children from opening medicines.

  2. Integration of smart technology
    Packaging experts have entertained smart technologies such as near-field communication (NFC), Bluetooth, and QR codes to monitor inventory and identify damaged drugs. In particular, temperature monitoring technologies are important in transporting medicines today.

    For instance, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine should be kept at -70°C, while Moderna’s vaccine should be stored at -20°C. Storing them at their ideal temperatures ensures effectiveness when administered to the patient.

  1. Switch to sustainable packaging
    Sustainable packaging has emerged in many industries worldwide as consumers become more aware of its environmental impact. The pharmaceutical industry is not exempted from environmental issues, with over 100,000 tonnes of pharmaceutical products consumed globally every year.

    Experts are looking into polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable plastic material commonly used for plastic films, bottles, and some medical devices. PLA uses 65% less energy during production and controls the temperature of goods in transit, making it a sustainable packaging solution.

  2. Patient accessibility
    Many pharmaceutical companies now offer medicines in prefilled syringes and cartridges, auto-injectors, and wearables. These self-administered medications help patients save time by not having to visit a healthcare professional for their treatment.

    While convenient, the challenge lies in medical device packaging. Self-administered medications should be stored in durable and moldable packages for different delivery methods. They should also be designed to help patients administer the right doses for their condition.

  3. More alternatives to glass packaging
    Dependence on glass became a bottleneck for many vaccine makers during the pandemic because of the low supply of sand and glass vials. This challenge highlights the impact of COVID-19 on packaging.

    To resolve this problem for the industry, pharmaceutical companies are now looking into alternative packaging materials that bear the same qualities as glass, such as its resistance to breakage and being free from delamination or contamination risks.

Prioritize Health with Safe Medical Packaging 

Delivering drugs and medicines is more than just ensuring that they work. Pharmaceutical companies should also consider the product packaging that can keep these medications intact in transit and effective when administered to patients.

For such a growing market, it is a must to consistently keep up with the ever-changing demands for medical packaging to meet the new needs of consumers as well.

If you need help improving your medical packaging, you can work with experts from Meyers. Our team offers professional printing solutions to bring your packaging to life and serve its intended purpose. Contact us today to learn more!