Designing Pharmaceutical Packing

The design work that goes into the packaging every product we see on shop shelves is often overlooked. This is certainly true within the field of medical packaging, as this tends to look deceptively simple. In fact, carton packaging for medicines always needs to fulfil many essential requirements, so careful design is crucial.

High standards are imposed by the government and other healthcare organisations which explain how packaging for medical supplies, including cartons, bottles and other types, must be presented. Specific accreditations which ensure these high standards are met include the following:

• ISO 9001 Quality Management System
• PS 9000 Pharmaceutical Packaging Materials
• BRC/IoP Global Packaging and Packaging Materials

Due to the serious health implications of using most types of drugs inappropriately, usually by accident, following strict health and safety regulations is a serious matter when it comes to the presentation, promotion and sale of those products. Vital information must be conveyed clearly, including all the language used to describe the uses, limitations and potential side effects of any drug which must be explicitly set out for consumers.

When designing boxes or cartons for medical supplies, these concerns must be balanced against all the other requirements involved. These may include the need for all of the following:

• Displaying the product name and key information, including ingredients
• Making the company branding clear, including the manufacturer name
• Remaining compact enough to keep shipping, material and environmental costs to a minimum
• Protecting the product itself from damage during transit
• Accessibility considerations such as including Braille on the box for visually impaired people
• Making the packaging easy for elderly or frail people to use, while still being secure enough to avoid children accidentally accessing it

As a result of all these requirements, which sometimes contradict each other, the process behind producing these cartons, boxes and bottles tends to be highly sophisticated. Absolute precision is required in the production process just as it is during the design stage, including all elements of manufacturing such as cutting, folding, printing, gluing, and so on.