Even well-designed product formulations can fail if it is contained in inappropriate packaging. So how does one decide which packaging to use for a product?
Foremost, packaging has to protect the product from degradation and damage. Material compatibility, water activity, and dynamic vapor sorption testing, and forced degradation studies during development are key in identifying the risks. Different barriers can protect from moisture, light, or gases, such as oxygen or carbon dioxide. Blistered products may use cold-formed aluminum to block light completely. Vials, at times, use light protective sleeves or amber-colored glass for the same purpose. Bottled products may require the use of a coil to keep tablets from breaking during shipment. These are just a few of the ways packaging is used to protect the product from its environment or handling. Early evaluation of the formulated product is pivotal to selecting the right mitigation strategy.
Additionally, the packager needs to know how the product will be used and who will be using it. The appropriate package for a clinical setting may need to be blinded. When a package is blinded, the identity and strength of the product are hidden such that the patient is blind to what is being taken. Blister packaging can be utilized to make it easier to track patient compliance. A product intended for commercial distribution may need child-resistant packaging.