10 Common Pharmaceutical Packaging Mistakes

pharma packaging

It is no secret that the pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated. As such, there are many considerations that have to be made when designing Pharma Packaging. But if you are a rookie in this field, it can be hard to know what those considerations are, especially since most pharmacies sell generic drugs and off-the-shelf items rather than custom-designed items.

Do not worry. We have compiled 10 mistakes made by first-time pharma packagers so that you can avoid them. 

1. Using Generic And Off-The-Shelf Packaging

Generic products are typically available at a lower price than brand-name items, but they may not be suitable for your product. Generic products may not be suitable for your customers, and they might compromise the value of your brand. They can also be less well-suited to regulatory requirements and supply chain issues. 

pharma packaging design

a. Use off-the-shelf products that do not meet your company's requirements, such as proprietary ingredients or special formulations. 

b. Use generic containers when it's necessary to meet regulatory standards. 

2. Failing To Test Your Packaging Solution 

Another major mistake that you might be making is ignoring the testing of your pharma packaging solutions. It can end up Having a good test plan is your first step toward testing your packaging solution. A good test plan helps you define the scope of your testing, which will help with budgeting and time management. It also allows you to ensure that all of the necessary equipment and personnel are arranged for the testing process. 

When writing a test plan, it is important to consider who will be involved in the actual testing process. You should also identify any other resources that might be required by this group, e.g: access to certain rooms or facilities. 

Another part of having an effective test plan is establishing clear criteria for success or failure so that you can assess whether or not each experiment has met its goals, and if not, why not? Lastly, perhaps most importantly, make sure everyone knows their role in this process going forward so that no one gets left behind when it comes time for implementation. 

3. Assuming All Packaging Needs To Be The Child And Senior Proof 

Some people believe that childproof packaging is always necessary. This is not true. Childproofing a product can be costly and not the best option for some pharmaceutical products. The same goes for senior-proof packaging: Not all your customers are seniors, so you might need to rethink your strategy if you are using this type of packaging exclusively. 

Read More: The Year of Change: Top 5 Trends Influencing the Pharma Packaging Industry in 2023 

4. Forgetting About Blister Packs  

Blister packs are not just for pills. You may be surprised to learn that blister packs are also used for other types of drugs, such as patches and gels. 

To use a blister pack correctly, you should: 

a. Follow the directions on the label carefully. Be sure to read all instructions before opening your first blister pack. If you do not follow these steps, you may damage your medication or prevent it from working properly. 

b. Check that the packaging is sealed before using it. For example, if the seal has been broken or damaged in any way and moisture has gotten into your medicine packaging, throw out that particular package and get another one from someone else who uses their own pill cutter without ever touching anything inside.  

Read More: All You Need To Know About Blister Packaging

5. Not Thinking About The Entire Pharma Supply Chain 

You may have heard the phrase the supply chain before, but it is a concept that deserves your attention. It refers to the network of people and businesses that touch your product at every stage of its journey through the healthcare system before it reaches the end user, and they are all part of your overall packaging strategy. 

When it comes to packaging for pharma companies, you need to think about: 

a. The supply chain from manufacturer to consumer. What does this look like? How is it regulated? How does this affect how you package your products? 

b. The supply chain from manufacturer to distributor; what are some key differences between selling direct-to-consumer and selling through distributors? How do these differences impact how you package your products? 

c. The supply chain from manufacturer to wholesaler; what are some key differences between selling direct-to-consumer and selling through distributors? How do these differences impact how you package your products? 

6. Failing To Consider The Pharma Value Chain 

The pharma value chain is the process from the research and development of a drug through to the final product. It creates a flow that goes from discovery to clinical trials and regulatory approval, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution. 

This is important because it means that if you are packaging for a company in one part of this value chain you need to understand how your customer's products will be used downstream. If you don't think about things like secondary packaging or logistics alongside your primary packaging design, then it could mean that an otherwise great product is rejected by customers because it doesn't meet their needs. 

7. Not Having Line Clearance Standards In Place 

Line clearance standards are a set of requirements that must be met before a product can be released for sale. These standards are designed to ensure the safety and efficacy of your drug packaging, including its labeling. The FDA sets the initial line clearance standards for all pharmaceuticals. However, each American state may have additional requirements for specific drugs. 

In addition to ensuring that your health care packaging meets all federal requirements, you must also consider how it would fare if one of them was changed or eliminated completely. For example, what would happen if there were no longer any federal requirement that drugs be packaged in child-resistant containers? It's important to think about these questions before you start designing because an issue like this could make all the difference between whether or not someone buys your product instead of another brand's version 

8. Getting Away From Traditional Trays, Boxes, Or Labels 

You may be tempted to go with a non-traditional packaging solution. However, it is important to remember that when it comes to pharmaceutical packaging, you do not want to stray too far from the norm. 

For example: 

a. Non-traditional trays and boxes can be used for all sorts of products; however, the best ones are typically those that are designed for specific types of products. If your product requires a certain type of tray or box and you use one that is not suited for it, even if it looks better then there could be an issue if/when your customer needs/wants to ship the product by air. 

b. Alternative labels can also look great, but getting away from traditional labels may cause issues in regulatory compliance because alternative labels are not always considered plain language compliant. 

9. Failing To Consider How Medicine Is Stored In The Home 

When you are packaging your product for distribution, it is important to be aware of how medicine is stored in the home. Pharmaceuticals must be kept at normal room temperature and out of direct sunlight. They should also be stored away from pets, children, and other people. Pharmacists understand that medicines are sensitive to temperature, so they recommend keeping them on a lower shelf in the refrigerator when possible. 

10. Not Thinking About How Medicine Is Used In The Home 

Did you know that almost one in three people do not always store their medication properly? If your packaging does not fit with the way people actually use a medicine, they may not use it as prescribed. This is a big problem since roughly 80% of patients fail to take their medications as directed. That is like having a doctor tell you to go on a diet but never giving any advice on how to eat properly or how much exercise is recommended.

Pharmacists and doctors want patients to succeed, so they work hard to ensure everything is clear and easy to understand. But if your packaging is not designed with the patient's needs in mind, that is what we call a missed opportunity for better health outcomes. 

Also Read: Pharma Packaging Industry in 2023


It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of your business and forget about the big picture. Make sure you keep an eye out for these rookie mistakes so that you can avoid them. It will make your life a little easier when it comes time to package your pharmaceutical products.

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