Pharmaceutical Patent Expiration Creates Packaging Opportunities

Every year, hundreds of prescription drugs are approved by the FDA to go to market, and those new drugs can be protected by numerous patents—keeping the manufacturing and profitability internal to the company owning those patents. While these new medicines are launched, dozens of other drugs’ patents expire each year, potentially spelling pharmaceutical profit losses in the tens of billions (estimates approach $60B within the next few years). But for the manufacturers of generic medications that now have access to these drug formulas, it’s a huge opportunity—and a source of growth for the packaging industry.

Big pharmaceutical companies call these expirations the “patent cliff,” but the result in the marketplace—especially with popular, and previously expensive drugs—is a flood of affordable pharmaceuticals at newly competitive prices. To compensate, newly-approved drugs and corporate acquisitions aim to refill the revenue pipeline as fresh patents are secured.

The ups and downs of the prescription drug industry present several opportunities in packaging:

  • Updated (and perhaps more competitive) packaging for original manufacturers after patents expire: to maintain their position and stay atop the marketplace, original manufacturers can benefit from a packaging refresh.
  • Unique and competitive packaging for manufacturers newly producing pharmaceuticals after patent expiration: as competing manufacturers add their own versions of these drugs to their catalog, they need packaging that helps their product stand out and convey their UVP (unique value proposition).
  • Effective packaging for newly-approved and patented drugs: product development in the pharmaceutical market never stops, and even as the patent cliff hits the bottom line, a new round of medications becomes available for prescription. As with every product, packaging is needed.

Ongoing packaging innovation, capabilities, and sustainability contribute to the demand for new solutions in packaging that serve the product, manufacturer, and end user effectively. Volatility in any market can increase periodic demand for fresh packaging solutions.

To discuss packaging solutions for your industry, give us a call or contact us!

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