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Main Functions of Pharmaceutical Packaging

Whether it’s over the counter cold medication or prescription drugs, most people will interact with pharmaceutical packaging at some point in their lives. For many of us, it’s a daily occurrence.

These medications and drugs come in all sorts of different formats and packaging materials. The design of pharmaceutical packaging has some very important functions to keep the products (and the people who take them) safe from harm:

Colorful capsule and round pills in blister package

Protection from Damage

There are lots of external factors that can affect the potency and effectiveness of pharmaceutical drugs, such as moisture and light. The foremost function of pharmaceutical packaging is to keep those external factors from damaging the integrity of the product.

Transportation and Storage

When pharmaceuticals are shipped from the manufacturer to distributor, and then to the retailer, they are being loaded in and out of trucks before finally reaching the shelves.

This is where the durability of both the secondary packaging (often branded cardboard boxes) and the tertiary packaging (bulk packaging such as plain cardboard boxes) are of vital importance. The outer packaging helps to protect the product from damage during shipping and storage.

Various boxes and bottles of medicine on table in pharmacy

Product Identification

Pharma packaging design can give us a lot of information about the product inside. For example, the label may show a specific brand that we are familiar with, a photo that indicates the function or intended user, or wording that tells us about the ailment it helps to treat.


No matter how high up you keep your medications, there is always a risk that pharmaceutical products can accidentally fall into the hands of kids.

Luckily, pharma packaging is specifically designed to keep children from accessing potentially harmful or even fatal medications. Features such as tear-resistant packages or bottle caps that require a certain movement to open are all designed with safety in mind.

Drug and Dosing Information

Perhaps one of the most important functions of pharmaceutical packaging and labeling is the drug and dosing information.

On the packaging label, you may find:

● Dosage guidelines, including the maximum daily limit, how much to take at one time, and the age recommendations for taking the medication

● Ingredients

● Warnings for particular demographics (e.g., pregnant women)

● Potential side effects

This information can be lifesaving, particularly for prescription medications.

Safety Regulations and Guidelines

The FDA maintains strict control over the packaging and labeling requirements for pharmaceutical products. Some examples include:

● Dosage, quantity, and usage instructions are clearly visible.

● Benefits and consequences of taking/not taking the drug are clearly stated.

● Potential side effects must be listed and included with the packaging.

Pharmaceutical packaging companies are experts at understanding the requirements for pharma packaging.

Why You Should Work with Packaging Professionals

There are many regulatory requirements for pharmaceutical packaging that require specialized equipment and expertise. At GCB Solutions, we have the experience and know-how to ensure your packaging meets all requirements. Please feel free to schedule a consultation or give us a call at 1 (904) 263-2804 to discuss your packaging project.


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