Nearly half of all Americans have used one or more prescription drugs in the past three decades. Of all medical visits, over 75% will involve a type of drug therapy. The result of this is some 2.6 billion prescription drugs being ordered or provided during or after physician visits.
As the use of pharmaceuticals has been expanding, so has the method of administration of medications. While tablets or liquids taken by mouth used to be the primary mode of administration, now alternative means are becoming more popular. Medications take orally simply can’t provide the same effectiveness, convenience, or safety of parenteral medications. Among the most rapidly growing modes of pharmaceutical and medical packaging are pre filled syringe pharmaceuticals.
Advances in science and technology in the past two decades have made pre filled syringe pharmaceutical packaging a convenient option. Pre filled syringe packaging services offer the obvious benefits of convenience – - the dose is already prepared when shipped – - ease of handling – - the syringe can readily be disposed of afterwards – - and improved safety – - with a pre filled dose there’s less chance of drug overfill.
Already the market for pre filled syringe pharmaceutical packaging is in the range of $1 billion to $2 billion. In 2011, there were more than 20 pharmaceutical companies which manufactured pre filled syringes for over 50 injectable drugs. Worldwide, the pre filled pharmaceutical market is estimated to be around one billion units. These numbers are expected to grow by over 10% each year. In the U.S., pre filled syringes have been growing at a rate closer to 20% per year for the five years preceding ___. This growth is largely attributable to healthcare professionals who prefer pre filled syringe pharmaceutical packaging for its convenience and safety. Other growth factors in the pre filled syringe pharmaceutical packaging industry include:
- Lower injection costs: Designed to fit into specialized syringes, pre filled syringe cartridges require less preparation and fewer materials since practitioners no longer need to manually fill each dose. Pre filled syringe pharmaceutical packaging also provides for easier storage and disposal.
- Greater affordability: Standard glass syringes are far more expensive to manufacture than plastic pre filled syringe cartridges and their syringes. Being made of plastic has the added benefit of making pre filled syringes less prone to breaking.
- Simpler administration procedures: Pre filled syringes provide increased convenience of administration for both healthcare professionals and patients using them at home. Among emergency room staff the ease of administration is particularly beneficial as it helps them treat patients quicker and more efficiently.
- Lower risk of medication errors: From virtually eliminating the risk of improper dosages to reducing the chance of miss-identification, pre filled syringe pharmaceutical packaging can greatly lower the risk of medication errors. With the doses pre filled, there’s less likelihood that a patient will improperly fill a syringe at home. Similarly, pre filled syringe pharmaceutical packaging can make identification easier for healthcare staff in hospitals.
- Improved product identification: Thanks to its wider variability than with vials, pre filled syringe pharmaceutical packaging can be designed to readily and clearly differentiate medications.
- Safer: A standard syringe will remain sterile after being filled with medication for only 12 hours. That same medication if stored within a pre filled syringe can retain its sterility for two to three years.
- No need for preservatives: Thanks to their higher sterility and improved shelf life, pre filled syringe pharmaceuticals won’t need preservatives in vaccine formulas.
Pre filled syringe pharmaceutical packaging has the capacity to benefit everyone from the end user or patient to healthcare professionals and even manufacturers. For pharmaceutical packaging companies, pre filled syringes mean less overfill. Whereas a vial is recommended to have 20% to 25% overfill, the same size pre filled requires less than 2% overfill. The end result is the capacity to produce 18% to 23% more doses.
Pre filled syringes can be incorporated at any point in the pharmaceutical supply chain, from formulation development to production. They can be used for products in development and already on the market. From replacing vials with pre filled syringes to self injection systems and even nasal spray, pre filled syringe pharmaceutical packaging can make any produce easier to use, safer, and thus more desirable.