Medical packaging design is important for many different reasons. Packaging needs to be able to protect its contents from temperature fluctuation, contamination, and being crushed or broken. Medical packaging also needs to be traceable through serialization, and should be easy to open. Unfortunately, many packages that succeed in protecting their contents do so at the cost of easy-open features.
One of the easiest to open packaging types is blister packaging. With individual pills placed in plastic pockets, then sealed with foil, blister packaging simply requires a light push on the foil to open. Unfortunately, even blister packaging can be difficult to open for people with visual impairments or a loss of fine motor skills. Blister packaging is also useless for liquid products.
Of course, liquid medications come with their own packaging obstacles. While the child-proof cap is an essential safety feature and has saved countless lives, it can be difficult for elderly patients to open, especially if they suffer from arthritis or other joint pain. Some liquid medicines come in single-dose pouches, which can be easier to open, but are prone to spilling if the easy-open strip is pulled too forcefully.
Investing in accessible medical packaging design is an issue that pharmaceutical manufacturers should be working to resolve. Difficult to open packaging can cause injuries to patients attempting unorthodox opening methods. Difficult packaging may also be a deterrent to patient compliance, which can lead to recurring medical disorders, and antibiotic-resistant diseases. Designing new medical packaging techniques will lead to healthier patients and decrease the instances of medicine getting wasted due to spills.
Medical packaging manufacturers already use input from doctors, nurses, and surgeons to develop new innovative packaging for their products. Surveying patients about what works and doesn’t work in packaging their medications may be key to creating flexible medical packaging to work with patients’ needs.