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Color permeates medical device and pharmaceutical packaging segments

A visit to the drugstore of yesteryear would have seen the patient confronted with a plethora of non-descript white or amber containers capped with black or white closures. But pharmaceutical companies nowadays believe that putting color into packaging can go a long way to boosting sales.

August 30, 2010

2 Min Read
Color permeates medical device and pharmaceutical packaging segments

A visit to the drugstore of yesteryear would have seen the patient confronted with a plethora of non-descript white or amber containers capped with black or white closures. But pharmaceutical companies nowadays believe that putting color into packaging can go a long way to boosting sales.

Clariant's Duckworth: Color in medical devices and drug packaging enhances safety, and sales.

"These days, companies are looking at colors that normally go into shampoo bottles to use in pharmaceutical packaging," says Steve Duckworth, Head of Global Market Segment Consumer Goods & Medical, at Clariant Masterbatches (Muttenz, Switzerland). "We're also seeing color going into all manner of devices, including pre-filled syringes, insulin pens, self diagnosis devices, and drug delivery devices."

Duckworth says the visual factor comes into play particularly where drugs whose patents have expired come under fire from generic alternatives. He cites a case of an asthma medication delivered via an inhaler. "Once a drug is patented, the inventor may only have five or so years to make money once you take into account approval time before generic competition surfaces," he notes. "To prolong the period of profitability, the drug company turned to the design of the delivery device itself, and this includes a distinctive color that appeals to the patient and which the patient can identify with."

Duckworth also notes that color is becoming increasingly prominent in hospitals on account of safety issues. "In form, fill and seal packaging we are seeing more use of color to indicate dosage. 100 g could be red and 50 g blue, for example," he explains. Color is also being employed increasingly in tubing to reduce the risk of insertion of the wrong tube.

Another key area where color is coming to the fore is in-vitro diagnosis, where color-coded caps are used for sample containers to indicate to automated diagnostic equipment which test should be carried out. Duckworth sees this trend accelerating along with increasing volumes of testing being moved closer to the patient such as at outpatient clinics.-[email protected]

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