How to Create Medical Packaging That Protects Your Product
As with every product or piece of merchandise, packaging and delivery can be an afterthought, but for medical products, packaging is one of the most important steps in the supply chain and should be given consideration as early in the design process as possible. Whatever packaging you choose for your product can mean the difference between an effective and medically safe product reaching the consumer and thousands of dollars in waste.
There are numerous factors when it comes to packaging design, but two crucial considerations for medical packaging, in particular, are convenience and budget. When keeping in mind convenience, you must consider the use for the contents; if it is a medical tool that needs to be accessed quickly by a nurse or doctor, an easily opened pouch could be the right solution, however, if the contents are medications with specific dosages, it could be necessary to include tear-resistant packaging or childproof caps. Budget can affect design as well, as the aforementioned pouches are less expensive to produce than plastic trays, which are more aesthetically pleasing and easier to organize
Of course, as with any primary or tertiary packaging, exterior branding is an important feature to further awareness of your company and, even more importantly for medical packaging, ensure the end user is aware of the medically sensitive contents.
The most important aspect of any medical packaging, especially in our current world, is ensuring medical equipment and supplies reach the consumer under sterile conditions. This goes hand-in-hand with Package Design, as the two steps can greatly inform each other. The preferred modern sterilization methods are either gamma or electronic beam; it is vital when selecting a packaging material that these rays can penetrate the product without the packaging (or the product itself) breaking down. Alternatively, if using steam during the sterilization process, the packaging must be porous enough for the gas molecules to pass through.
Initial Testing, Shelf Life and Long-Term Validation
The lengthiest portion of the medical packaging design process is undoubtedly the testing and validation stage. If packaging is damaged during production, shipping or storage that can lead to spoiled or even unsterile products, drastically decreasing the shelf life. Due to the unique nature and requirements of medical packaging, from sterilization to stability, it is important to keep in mind necessary lead times. It can take anywhere from 1-2 weeks for simple individual pouches and up to 6 months or longer for packaging that will contain prescription medications and other sensitive substances in the testing stage, alone. Some medical packaging will require following the ISO11137 standard, for example, while others might require ISO9000. All of this can be overwhelming but, thankfully, there is guidance provided for these international standards available on the ISO website.
By keeping these basic principles in mind and remaining conscious of budget and lead times, you will be able to confidently create medical packaging that protects and even enhances your product, ensuring safe delivery to the patients and doctors who need it most.
Are you looking for a new partner for your medical packaging needs? At GCB Solutions, we are ready to assist your company through the entire production process: from packaging design through testing and ultimate delivery of packaging. To learn more, contact us today at (904) 263-2804 or schedule a free consultation to learn more.