CPhI Worldwide 2019

'E-label' packaging to improve patient experience

By Vassia Barba

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/NatalyaBurova)
(Image: Getty/NatalyaBurova)

Related tags Sharp clinical packaging Packaging Packaging and labeling Label Digital Digital innovations Supply chain Supply chain management Clinical supply Logistics

Sharp’s electronic label for drug packaging can be updated again and again, saving time and costs whilst also improving patient engagement during clinical trials.

As the spotlight of clinical trial management maintains its focus on patient centricity, Sharp introduces a drug packaging solution that is able to improve patient experience, whilst saving costs for drug developers conducting clinical studies.

The e-label, made out of 'e-paper', originally developed by Mpicosys, was one of Sharp's exhibits at the CPhI Worldwide 2019 that took place last week in Frankfurt, Germany, and Outsourcing-Pharma.com spoke with Sascha Sonnenberg, global head of Business Development for Sharp, about the labeling technology and the challenges in serving clinical-stage developers.

“Patient centricity has evolved to be a substantial element of the industry, and patient dropout from clinical trials is reaching approximately 30% - causing serious delays for developers to put a product on the market,”​ Sonnenberg said.

Therefore, the executive noted that patient engagement is one of the big ‘pain points’ for Sharp’s clients, leading the company to develop solutions to address the issue.

“Developing innovative packaging technologies is one way to keep patients motivated and engaged in a trial. For that purpose, we have created the e-labels, which are linked to media channels to provide additional product and disease information,”​ the executive explained.

More specifically, the e-label, which looks like an ‘e-reader’ device, with a thin digital display screen, is able to connect via near-field communication (NFC) technology to a reading/writing device. This allows the operator to edit the text displayed on the e-label, without having to destroy and reprint a paper label.

According to Sonnenberg, the device, which can be used even under negative temperature conditions and has a multi-year lifespan, is a replacement for the booklet labels that companies currently use for their drug products. 

The executive noted that the process of compiling the data included in booklet labels, translating it into different languages and then getting regulatory approval from the different countries, is time consuming and delays patients’ access to medicine.

“With e-labels, developers can go back to a single country approach and upload the approved and translated information just before shipping,”​ Sonnenberg noted, adding that this is also helpful for expiry dates, since relabeling operations are often required once the developers get new stability information.

According to Sonnenberg, the technology has the potential to reduce labeling costs, since the same ‘screen’ can be erased and reused across different clients and  products.

In addition, the product has so far brought positive feedback for the company, especially from elderly patient populations and people with vision problems, since they have the ability to change the font and size of the letters displayed on the screen.

Finally, the executive stated that the product’s capabilities can potentially be expanded with the integration of sensors, which would monitor temperature and other conditions during the product’s distribution.

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