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Packaging of Pharmaceutical Products

Pharmaceutical products are packed in three stages - primary packaging, secondary packaging and tertiary packaging. All three are important and have their on significance in pharmaceutical packaging line.
In the healthcare field, pharmaceutical packaging plays a vital role in keeping prescribed drugs and medication safe from all sorts of contamination and bacterial growth. Unlike other goods, pharmaceutical medicines require a much thorough inspection of their packaging so that they are completely safe for consumption by ill patients.

After all, nobody wants to buy a medicine that has not been packaged properly. Furthermore, the material used in packaging the medicines is also used to provide a complete medical description of the medicine for the purpose of identification and consumption.

Tablet Packing
Generally speaking, there are 3 types of pharmaceutical packaging which is used by drug manufacturers for all sorts of pharmaceutical products ranging from pills to capsules. Take a look down below to learn more about the different types of pharmaceutical packaging with proper explanations and examples.

1) Primary Packaging: The most important part of packing a pharmaceutical product is primary packaging. Unless and until the primary packaging is done correctly, you can't be certain if the pharmaceutical product will be able to retain its original quality or not.

The materials used during the process of primary packaging must be neutral and it should not interact with the pharmaceutical product during its entire shelf life. However, if the primary packaging fails to do its work then it will be life-threatening for those patients who may consume the product after being prescribed by medical personnel like a doctor or a physician.

Usually, blister strip and pet bottles are the common materials used in primary packaging as they are made up of nonreactive substances like PVC and aluminum. Likewise, high-quality plastic is used instead of glass for liquid doses so that products don't spill or get damaged while transporting them from pharmaceutical factories to medical clinics and hospitals. Some of the popular types of plastics used in packaging tablets and pills are:
a) Polyethylene (PE)
b) Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
c) Nylon (polyamide)
d) Polycarbonate
e) Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

2. Secondary Packaging: Once the airtight primary packaging is done, the pharmaceutical products are then ready for the next step of packaging which is simply referred to as 'Secondary Packaging'. Basically, the secondary packaging is just another layer of packaging which is most likely going to be a printed material like boxes and cartons.

Informative things like active and inactive ingredients, manufacturer's name and address, type of medicine and warning precautions are printed on those boxes so that people can easily distinguish them between two separate boxes filled with a different pharmaceutical product. What's ingenious about the use of secondary packaging is that it gives the product a brand image of the manufacturer and at the same time manages to make it look somewhat less impervious.

3. Tertiary Packaging: Lastly comes the tertiary packaging which is most important for shipping and transportation purposes. Stereotypically, the tertiary packaging is not seen by consumers as the packaging material is often removed by retailers before showcasing the product for sale in their clinics.

Having said that, the main purpose of tertiary packaging is to keep the central product safe by protecting the primary and secondary packaging materials from external forces especially during transportation. The popular packaging materials used in tertiary packaging are cardboards, plane boxes and shrink wraps.

All in all, these are different types of pharmaceutical packaging and I hope you enjoyed reading it. Got any questions regarding the packaging of pharmaceutical products? Then, feel free to ask in the comments section.

Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
.moc.enilediugamrahp@ofni :liamENeed Help: Ask Question

3 comments: Post Yours! Read Comment Policy ▼

  1. Could you please share some official reference for packaging material specifications & test methods?

  2. regarding packaging materials.Aluminium caps are not mentioned and their specifications.also specifications of all packaging materials are not listed in the page.please help us in listing the specifications of all packaging materials.

  3. Its a nice and informative post. The pharmaceutical packaging is an essential constituent of medicinal products because it guarantees its stability and integrity. Keep up your great work.


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