ISO 15378:2006 award is competitive advantage for French plants, says Alcan

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Three plants owned by contract packaging maker Alcan have been cleared to produce containers for pharmaceutical products under the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 15378:2006 guidelines.

The units, which include two glass vial plants in Authon and Lucenay and a flexibles facility in Montreuil Bellay, were all judged to have “consistently met customer regulatory requirements and International Standards applicable to primary drug packaging materials​”.

Mike Schmitt, president of Alcan’s pharmaceutical packaging unit, explained the facilities “join several of our other plants in reaching this advanced level of certification and demonstrate our continued commitment to providing world-class packaging for the healthcare industry​”.

In 2007, Alcan’s facility in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland became the first flexible packaging unit in the world to achieve ISO 15378:2006, which was originally designed for glass products before being extended to include all types of drug packaging.

Christian Durand, vice president of glass tubing operations, said that the ISO 15378:2006 standard is a competitive advantage as it ensures customers' sensitive pharmaceutical products are packaged safely and effectively.

Rio plan to sell Alcan packaging

The accreditation will undoubtedly be welcomed by Alcan’s owner Rio Tinto. The mining giant has been looking to off-load the packaging unit since acquiring its parent company for $38bn (€30bn) in 2007.

Despite speculation about a number of potential suitors over the past year only one, Australia’s Amcor, has confirmed that it has any interest in Alcan’s packaging operations so far.

The latest accreditation, coupled with Alcan’s recent expansion in key pharmaceutical packaging markets like India, only serves to make the company a more attractive proposition for companies like Amcor that wish to strengthen their standing in traditional and emerging regions.

Additionally, Rio is likely to welcome any news will allow it to focus on its core strengths at the moment given Chinese aluminium firm’s Chinalco repeated efforts to invest an additional $19.5bn in the global mining group.

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