Flexographic Printing Blog

Trends in Pharmaceutical Packaging for 2021

Posted by Luminite on Oct 14, 2020 9:15:00 AM

trends in pharmaceutical packaging

Pharmaceutical packaging represents a $70 billion global market and is on the upswing at a continuous average growth rate (CAGR) of about 6% year-over-year. Unlike other packaging segments, medicine is something that's always going to be in high demand. This is especially true now that we're deep into the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, some of the most popular pharmaceutical packaging formats include:

  • Blister packs (or blister cards)
  • Glass
  • Plastic
  • Foil
  • Other specialty flexible packaging

Relevant Content: What is blister card packaging?

But as this packaging segment continues to evolve, so too will its trends. In this post, we'll take a closer look at some of the key trends in pharmaceutical packaging in 2021 and beyond.

3 Emerging Pharmaceutical Packaging Industry Trends

Pharmaceutical packaging is already a very advanced market, but there are a few things that the industry is working toward to modernize itself for the benefit of both producers and buyers. These include making packaging more:

  • Accessible to patients
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Easy to produce

Without further ado…


While all packaging aims to be convenient and consumer friendly, pharma packaging is perhaps the definition of this imperative. Nowadays, a lot of people are self-medicating (think: insulin pumps and auto injectors), so informing the patient is always the No.1 priority. 

Think about everything that needs printed on pharmaceutical packaging: 

  • Usage instructions
  • Allergy warnings
  • Disposal instructions
  • Expiration dates
  • Emergency care contact information

Pharmaceutical packaging and all the details printed on it must be clear, legible, and prominent. Unlike other consumer products, the primary purpose of the packaging is to inform buyers instead of persuade them.

Eco-Friendly Packaging

Sustainability and environmentally friendly packaging is a major trend in packaging in general, let alone in pharmaceutical packaging. However, when it comes to pharmaceuticals, the packaging industry has to balance patient safety with environmental efforts. 

One emerging trend in pharma is the concept of quality by design, or QbD. This initiative ensures that medicine is administered to patients as intended and nothing environmentally harmful escapes the packaging. Antibiotic environmental contamination is and has been a big problem in recent years. QbD can help curb this.

Additionally, recycling continues to trend in a positive direction in all packaging formats. This even includes flexible plastic packaging, which is becoming an easily recyclable packaging format. There’s also a push to find solutions for single-use plastic, but in the medical field, that presents a particular challenge.

Ease of Production

How quickly can manufacturers produce medication? How quickly can they get it packaged and out for distribution? 

There's a high demand for medication amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and it's putting greater pressure on manufacturers to produce it faster without sacrificing quality.

Having pharma packaging that’s easy to produce and simple to use can decrease lead time for important medical products. In 2021, packaging designers will continue to innovate to find faster packaging solutions.

Taking Pharmaceutical Packaging to New Heights

Pharmaceutical packaging industry trends are rapidly changing to keep up with the fast-paced medical industry, and so should your flexo printing operations. Taking these three trends into account can help keep you ahead of the competition. 

Innovative flexo printing solutions can make your overall printing operations faster, more efficient, and better for the environment. Check out this ebook about maximizing your printing capabilities by fixing your substrate issues, whether you’re working with blister cards or flexible plastic. 

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Tags: Flexographic Printing, Quality, Blister Packaging

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