Mylan's packaging practices to increase patient compliance
What impact do you feel packaging has on the treatment of patients? Do you think the industry understands this?
Prabir: The way packaging connect s the product with the patient is crucial to the treatment of the patient. Every product (whether it is a regular product or a medicinal product) is delivered to the patient in packaging without any other party being involved. Therefore, packaging is the key connector between the product and the patient. The industry is aware of it, but awareness is not uniform across all levels in the industry. The bigger player s at the upper segment are aware of it s importance and they have full - fledged packaging teams who take care of all these things and design the pack in such a way to ensure high connectivity. These companies tend to have success in delivering their product s to the patient. Other companies are either s till reluctant to invest in packaging, or there are sometimes other constraints . Thankfully the pharmaceutical industry is the most - regulated market. If you want to be successful, then you have to deliver what regulator s want and what the patient s want. So, yes, awareness is there, but it s not uniform.
How have you seen patient compliance change over the last few years, and what developments have been made?
Prabir: Yes, ‘patient compliance’, ‘regulatory compliance’ or ‘quality compliance’ as it is often referred to, have changed a lot to keep pace with the evolutionary process . It is a law that we have to comply to and takes into consideration the patient’ s safety and security needs . Patient compliance has changed a lot as many value-added features are embedded in packaging now. In the past, packaging was a very simple device only used to carry the product from one place to another. Nowadays, there are many other features available in the packaging. These ensure the safe and secure delivery of the product, and that the quality of the product remains intact from the fir s t to the las t day of expiry. Packaging is not just about the stability of the product, but al so about other things like brand authenticity, quality, safety and security.
What do you think are the biggest challenges with regard to patient compliance?
Prabir: Awareness building across the society, affordability and accessibility of medicines in remote places of the country plus having industrial infrastructure are some of the biggest challenges faced by the industry. When it comes to industrial infrastructure- related issues, things which were possible years ago are not applicable today as the landscape has changed a lot. For example, fifteen years ago, setup could survive without a proper proactive plan, but in today’ s market, it’ s not possible without the right infrastructure in place. Other infrastructure related is sues could be that they may not have sufficient space for expansion or sufficient capacity to expand. Another big challenge is that companies need to invest a lot more budget into things like automation. Nowadays, investing on automation has become essential because even basic value-added features that are embedded in packaging require a lot of automation and IT infrastructure as well
How do you think packaging and labelling effects supply chain efficiency?
Prabir: Packaging and supply chain are the two basic linkages between the product and the patient. It i s totally dependent on these two things. Packaging gives stability to the product and ensures the quality of the product – the better the quality; the longer is the product’s shelf - life. When it comes to supply chain, it should take care of all internal and external threat s from the point of production to the point of consumption. Therefore, Supply Chain needs to understand what packaging i s doing for the product, and packaging al so needs to understand what Supply Chain will follow during the entire distribution cycle. Both these functions are very complementary to each other and guarantee the safety of the patient.
- Product -Packaging-People connectivity – the process by which People receive the desired Product intact through it s effective Packaging.
- Internally, R & D-Production-Marketing ensures the Product and it s Packaging are designed, developed and produced as people want it.
- Supply Chain, at the core of the business, ensures alignment of all the internal & external functions to deliver the product in time with right quality & quantity.
In the next couple of years, what would you like to see in terms of innovation in packaging and labelling?
Prabir: For packaging, I think there are three areas where I would like to see innovation.
One is material and process - related innovation – these are the basic material s which actually help to retain the quality of the products. Second area is design- related innovation. Material maybe similar but if you do the design differently; probably you’ll have some added value in that packaging. Third area is completely dependent on customer, that is , customer -driven innovation. It means certain segment s of customer s require certain packaging features.
In the case of medicine, customer -driven choices are les s compared to material and design because there the product safety and product stability is more important than a patient’s choice. The patient only needs convenience, for example, is the medicine easy to dispense? Is it easy to take the medicine? In pharmaceutical industry, patient convenience is very important. These material and design- related innovations are happening, but material innovation is a very s low and long- term process whereas design or application oriented innovations are happening quite often. While many of the features are now driven through digital technology, there are examples of using Wireless Communication also. The best solutions come when multiple technologies are blended together to create a patient friendly feature.
To sum up, these are the three areas to innovate material -wise, design-wise or via some customer -driven requirement s through latest technology blending process.