Compliance packaging is emerging as a way to help tackle the challenge of patient adherence to medication, which costs pharmaceutical manufacturers over $30bn a year in lost revenues.
Adherence to medication is a huge problem throughout the world - within three months of therapy, patient compliance drops to around only 50 per cent.
In addition to lost earnings for the industry, the situation is affecting patient health, so much so that the World Health Organization (WHO) has claimed that "shifting the effectiveness of patient adherence may have a far greater impact on the health of the population than any improvement in medical treatment."
In the last one to two years Alcan Packaging has started offering compliance packaging as part of its contract packaging services.
As part of this the company designs and manufactures pharma packaging in formats such as blister packs and wallets, so as to encourage and remind patients of the need to take their medication, as well as an improved understanding of their disease state and treatment.
According to a study by the College of Pharmacy at the Ohio State University in 2004, innovative packaging, such as unit-dose blister packaging was shown to improve refill rates by 15 per cent and outcomes by 30 per cent.
"We are already providing packaging services, so we are now saying to companies, 'why not leverage this with an incremental cost and add compliance features at the same time'," Daryl Madeira, director of marketing of the company's contract packaging and specialty cartons unit, told Outsourcing-Pharma at this year's Interphex trade show in Philadelphia.
Depending on what kind of packaging companies are already using, adding compliance elements to the packaging may only add between 10 and 25 per cent to the cost, said Madeira.
"This is small compared to other extremely expensive methods of attempting to improve compliance that companies are currently using such as consumer advertisements and mailing campaigns, which can cost around $800m."
According to Madeira, the company has been witnessing more and more interest from customers in regard to compliance packaging, and he believes the market for this corner of the contract packaging market will grow around 15 per cent this year.
Alcan is poised and ready to capitalise on this. The company is one of a very few (around four) contract packagers in the US that have large scale capacity and one of only two who offer compliance packaging "at any appreciable level," according to Madeira.
"We also have the advantage that we are involved in the compliance packaging process from the outset, as we can design the packaging according to customer requirements, in addition to then manufacturing it for them."