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Smart packaging touches many areas of packaging including food, beverage, and pharmaceutical. For pharmaceutical packaging in particular, there have been several advances in the use of smart packaging, specifically in the realm of patient compliance and patient interaction.
The use of smart technologies in any packaging impacts package printers and converters in a variety of ways. The emergence of brand protection as an important market for package printers is one area that impacts those who print pharmaceutical packaging or labels. Secure waste streams, chain-of-custody techniques, and now printed electronics may mean that before long you’ll be learning yet another technique to employ for your customers.
In the realm of patient compliance—patients taking their medication when they are supposed to—pharmaceutical packaging has gone high tech, using technologies like printed electronics, RFID, and conductive inks to communicate not only with the patient, but also with his or her physician or other authorized healthcare organizations.
The following are three examples of pharmaceutical packaging that employ various technologies to make the products smart. They become intelligent by enabling them to communicate in different ways with a medicine’s user, as well as for clinical trials where it is communicating numerous bits of information back to a research team.
• MWV Healthcare Cerepak -Electronic Compliance -Packaging, www.mwv.com
This smart package’s target is the clinical trials market. Cerepak records the date, time, and location of each tablet or pill as it is removed from the package. These data can be quickly downloaded into a computer for analysis by the patient or healthcare provider. The system also enables interaction with the patient—it can record side effects or symptoms, as well as discreetly prompt the patient to take the medication using light, sound, or vibration.
MWV designed Cerepak with several goals in mind: accurately record the date and time each dose is taken; improve data quality and statistical power in clinical trials; help clinicians more accurately determine when a non-responder is actually a non-compliant subject; and provide child resistance as necessary.