Procurement Manager, Roy Butcher, discusses the latest trends in tamper evident systems and how Covid-19 has played a major role in product innovation.
The pandemic has shifted industry trends in ways that will have significant long-term implications for packaging design. There are now three key requirements to focus on to prepare for these changes – design with hygiene and safety in mind, design for e-commerce and direct-to-consumer models and most importantly, sustainability.
Ensuring pharmaceutical products are delivered from factory to patient in a safe, efficient manner is a complex procedure, with much to consider. There are intricate restrictions and performance requirements that must be met, whilst guaranteeing goods are protected and untampered throughout the delivery process. These conditions are why tamper-evident security packaging tapes have been used for many years in the pharmaceutical industry.
Consumers awareness of hygiene and safety concerns have grown massively and will probably continue to long after the pandemic subsides. To boost consumer confidence, the use of tamper-evident products is likely to continue to increase and new products will come to the market. However, it is a fine balancing act between ensuring protection against contamination, whilst avoiding creating more packaging waste by adding materials and protective closures.
Pharmaceutical packaging is often disposable. However, since the pandemic, the demand for single-use packaging has seen an even greater increase. Whilst it may have seemed as if the urgency of the pandemic put sustainability demands on hold, the packaging industry is continuing to work hard to minimise its environmental impact and introduce more recyclable solutions which do not compromise performance. There is a large selection when it comes to tamper evident systems, from labels to tapes and tags and the need for sustainable solutions is sure to welcome further innovation in the coming years.
Another important requirement is direct-to-consumer models, a consequence of the rise in e-commerce pharmaceuticals. Whilst this has been a practice for some time now, since the start of the pandemic, 4.3 million adults across the UK have ordered medication online for the first time. There are many reasons why people have turned to postal deliveries for their medication. For example, it offers ease and convenience, it allows you to avoid making journeys to the pharmacy and helps to prevent the risk of infection from Covid-19.
The upsurge in accessibility of pharmaceuticals has been a great step forward in the market, but it has also come with increased possibility for tampering and counterfeiting. Not only does this pose risk to the health of consumers, but it can also negatively affect brand reputation too. Therefore, ensuring the right protection is in place is crucial.
At Southgate, our products are designed with safety at the forefront. For example, our range of Tegracheck security tapes are made with an aggressive adhesive which prevents removal of the tape without clear evidence, revealing an ‘OPEN VOID’ message. Last year, we wrapped up five million NHS Covid-19 home testing kits using our range of self-seal bags to reduce the danger of excessive handling and contamination. Our design meant that the tests could be quickly and efficiently sealed and sent out to people who were unable to visit test sites.
The safety of the consumer is an important consideration for any area of packaging. However, when it comes to pharmaceutical products, it is critical. The pandemic has highlighted this and put pressure on the increasingly difficult role of designing and specifying the packaging used throughout the end-to-end supply for medicines. At Southgate, we plan to continue our mission to combine sustainability with safety and accessibility.