Pharmaceutical Packaging During the Covid-19 Pandemic

When it first began, nobody could have predicted the effect that the Covid-19 pandemic would have on every facet of people’s lives. Many people thought it would blow over quickly. It was difficult to predict the challenges society would face. Among the myriad of issues caused by this pandemic, a major challenge has resulted from the increased demand of many products and the resultant impact to supply and distribution chains. This has had an impact on most industries, especially the Healthcare industry. As a result of the pandemic, government entities, universities and private companies are all looking for ways to stop the spread of the virus, for treatments, a cure, and a vaccine. There is a massive need for things like vials, syringes, cartridges, gloves, and other disposable medical equipment. There has also been a spike in the demand for antimicrobial drugs needed to help combat infections and other ailments resulting from Covid-19 illnesses as well as over-the-counter pain relievers for treatment of symptoms of the disease.

This impact of Covid-19 has caused a steady need for an increase in the packaging of these medications and supplies. In fact, the entire packaging industry is projected to grow by at least 5% or more because of the increased demand. The healthcare packaging industry specifically is projected to have the most significant growth, upwards of 20%.

The High Demand on Pharmaceutical Companies

Covid-19 has greatly increased the demand for pharmaceuticals and therefore packaging. Think about the sheer number of test kits that need to get to hospitals worldwide. Right there is an almost entirely new market. There is always demand for test kits of many varieties but now, the need has quadrupled at minimum. Every hospital in the U.S. and beyond has a need for Covid-19 test kits. Add to this the extremely high demand for common over the counter medications like cold and headache medicines, and you can easily understand the challenge. Almost every over the counter medication has seen an increase in demand. In the past, people might hold off on getting certain medications. Now, that attitude has completely changed. People are more concerned than ever about their health and are actively purchasing medications in order to not face a shortage.

 As the Covid-19 vaccines that are currently in trials gain approval the demand to ramp up production and packaging could be unprecedented in size.

There has been an increase in the demand for specific types of pharmaceutical packaging, specifically in secondary packaging. Folding cartons are a standard type of secondary packaging. From medications to medical devices and PPE, there is a growing demand for folding carton packaging.

Many pharmaceutical manufacturers are also looking for unique features in their cartons, such as; serialization, security tag labels and other anti-tampering features, child resistance and senior friendly packaging, and packaging that facilitates patient compliance such as the use of Augmented Reality. Packaging suppliers need to be prepared to take on the increased volume and to meet these various needs of their clients. The best secondary packaging companies possess the skills to design and manufacture folding cartons with these advanced features and understand the urgency and have the ability to ramp up production to meet the increased demand. Healthcare packaging companies are working hard to keep the supply chain moving, prioritizing those medications and resources required in the fight against Covid-19.

Being prepared to meet the increased demand and reacting to the ever-changing needs is a challenge in itself but the additional challenge of being impacted by the pandemic, as all companies and individuals have been to some extent, makes the challenge one that is unprecedented.

Considered as essential companies and essential workers, the Healthcare packaging industry has also had to implement all of the CDC recommended safety measures, in order to keep their workers safe and their production lines up and running. With this added element of management complexity along with huge increases in demand and deficiencies in their Supply Chain, packaging companies have faced a constant need for increasing staff throughout this pandemic. Finding the right skill sets, recruiting, on-boarding, and training of new personal has become an on-going, daily priority in the packaging business.

The challenges that every company faces because of the pandemic vary significantly. On one end of the spectrum, companies are striving to reduce cost and overhead in order to survive, with reduced demand for their product or service, while others are scrambling to gear up for monumental growth and the multitude of challenges/opportunities that come with rapid growth.

Rondo-Pak LLC is meeting these challenges head-on and continues to offer the highest quality in commercial printing and packaging, specializing in folding cartons for the Healthcare industry. We partner with many of the leading pharmaceutical companies in designing and producing packaging for life saving medications, flu vaccines, over the counter products as well as marketing collateral materials and sales kits. Currently, we are also producing packaging for Covid-19 related test kits, vaccine clinical trials and medications used in the treatment of the disease.