Based on the anticipated adoption of new FDA regulations requiring unit dosecontainers for institutional drugs, blister packaging - accounting for 24 per cent of the 19 billion units sold in the US last year - will generate above average growth opportunities and remain the leading type of pharmaceutical packaging in value terms.
However, because of their versatility, ease of use and cost effectiveness benefits, plastic bottles will continue to account for the single largest share of the total pharmaceutical packaging market, at 32 per cent in 2003.
"In spite of the competition from blister packaging, plastic bottles are projected to broaden applications in the packaging of oral drugs sold to retail pharmacies and pharmaceutical distributors," says the report.
Meanwhile, as lower cost alternatives to blister packaging, pharmaceutical pouches and strip packs will continue to fare well in the marketplace. Pouches will gain favourable sales momentum from increasing use in the unit dosepackaging of powder and topical medicines, while strip packs will generate most growth opportunities from sample-size oral drug applications, according to Freedonia.
In the respiratory sector, pre-fillable inhalers will generate the strongestdemand gains among all pharmaceutical packaging products as new asthmaand allergy medicines with specialised administration requirements reach thecommercial stage, notes the report.
By contrast, demand for medication tubes will rise at a below average pacedue to limited applications and competition from plastic dispensing bottles. And in the area of parenteral packaging, prefillable syringes will fare the bestin the marketplace based on infection prevention and response time advantages in the delivery of critical and emergency care medication.
Vials, ampoules and intravenous containers will generate below average demand gains, with competition from prefillable syringes holding back growth for vials and ampoules.
Trends toward less invasive surgical procedures and advances in alternativedrug delivery systems will soften market growth for IV containers. Limited applications will keep demand for other primary containers, including aerosolcontainers, glass bottles and jars, and paperboard boxes, relatively small.
Foils on the up?
Plastics will remain the leading materials employed in pharmaceutical packaging based on breadth of applications, cost effectiveness and favourable barrier and aesthetic properties. Nonetheless, foils will generate the strongest gains in consumption due to better adaptability to bar coding - soon to be mandatory for a wide range of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs - and expanding applications in blister and pouch packaging.
The study, called Pharmaceutical Packaging and published this month, provides historical data to 2003 and forecasts to 2008 and 2013. It costs $4100.