Innovating Pharmaceutical Packaging to Benefit Seniors

One of the largest—and growing—age groups in the United States is seniors. Understandably, packaging for pharmaceuticals and other products aimed at seniors is being rethought to improve the user experience. Manufacturers are reconsidering packaging to make it easier to handle, open, read and understand, while reducing environmental impact.

Accommodating Dexterity

A common progression of aging is decreased hand strength and manual dexterity. When combined with traditional child-resistant pharmaceutical containers, accessing medication can be not only frustrating but discouraging for seniors struggling to open this packaging. It’s crucial to keep medicines as inaccessible as possible to children, but the cost of packaging that seniors can’t open is the possibility that doses will be missed—and the potential for disastrous results. Easier-to-open yet still child-resistant flexible foils result in packaging that is a welcome change for those dependent on critical medications.

Addressing Visual and/or Cognitive Impairment

For those suffering visual impairment or decline, the notoriously tiny text on pharmaceuticals is more than an inconvenience. It can lead to dangerous dosing errors. More readable packaging, advanced foils, and printing supporting anti-counterfeiting, interactive features, and even Braille are usability features improving pharmaceutical packaging for the visually impaired. These labeling innovations—and clear, simple instructions—are also beneficial for those with cognitive impairment or reduced capacity (and their caregivers) who are managing medication along with other challenges.

Improving Sustainability

The call for improved pharmaceutical packaging usability isn’t just about making it easier to access one or two medications. In fact, roughly 80% of seniors are taking prescriptions, and a third are prescribed more than one. The excess packaging that can be generated is concerning, so manufacturers are exploring more eco-friendly materials and films that can check all three boxes for improved usability, packaging that encourages compliance with a prescription regimen, and decreased environmental impact.

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