© Edelmann

© Edelmann

Mini screen as a patient leaflet

March 2015 – For the optimised re-issue of its headache tablets, Bayer AG has collaborated with the packaging company Edelmann and created a folding box with a mini-display for some of its product runs. Germany’s leading provider of carton packaging has prefabricated screens for all package sizes from 8 to 70 tablets. It means that patients can view a video about the recommended dosages, side effects, production and dosage forms of their tablets. In addition to this state-of-the-art product information, each two-chamber box still has a patient leaflet, made of paper, in a separate compartment.

Trend towards technical packaging

The pharmaceutical group introduced this innovative form of smart packaging along with a new market launch of one of its best-known products. But other companies, too, have started to integrate moving images into folding boxes. To illustrate a product and to boost its image, they use autostart videos up to an hour in length, complete with impressive designs and sound effects. Depending on the product, manufacturers are increasingly integrating innovative technologies and interactive communication options into their packaging solutions. The enhanced information content and the contemporary layout have expanded the range of functions which packages of all kinds now need to fulfil, in addition to their traditional purpose of protection and storage. Many experts believe that advertising media with virtual messages will become an unstoppable trend over the next few years.
Chips © Stora Enso

‘Chips in DDSi Wireless tablet packaging contain patient information and send text messages whenever the next dose is due’, © Stora Enso

E-packaging in the pharmaceutical industry

At the moment over-the-counter pharmaceutical products with video and voice messages are still isolated occurrences. Other types of smart packaging, on the other hand, have already become well established on the worldwide pharmaceutical market. Chips, light-emitting diodes and even mini speakers are sometimes integrated into folding boxes, sending visual and acoustic signals to remind patients to take their medication. By integrating such electronic devices into blister and similar packages, manufacturers want to increase both user convenience and sales figures.

Analysts in the United States, however, are somewhat more restrained than European experts. Pointing out that smart packaging elements are rather costly and time-consuming to produce, they believe that such innovations will be nice-to-have extras over the next few years, but are unlikely to turn into serious competitors compared with conventional pharmaceutical packaging.

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