The Parenteral Drug Association (PDA) recently held a conference in Munich to fuel the further development of the growing pre-fillable syringe market.
The conference, spearheaded by Gerresheimer's PharmaSystems subsidiary, Blunder Glas, was designed to update pharmacists on the latest technology and development priorities for pre-fillable syringes, including the highly topical aspect of drug delivery.
The injectable drug market is growing strongly at present, driven by the rising number of biologic drugs coming though the biopharma industry's pipelines.
As patients live longer and are diagnosed with chronic and often debilitating ailments, the result will be a dramatic increase in self-administration of injectable drug therapies.
This trend is creating an increased interest in routes of administration that are user-friendly and cost-effective.
The availability of an increasing number of drugs in pre-filled disposable cartridges and syringes are fueling the growth of these administrative new devices, at the expense of traditional injectable drug delivery devices.
"Further development in this sector directly benefits patients and medical personnel and demands constructive collaboration between all the disciplines involved," said Burkhard Lingenberg, director of corporate communications and marketing for Gerresheimer.
The conference discussed all aspects of disposable syringes, including protection against product counterfeiting, outsourced filling, fully automated filling processes and lyophilisation techniques.
Several of Bunder Glas's latest pre-fillable syringe devices aimed at improving the safety and ease of use of its syringe were also made available to participants.
The novel devices were first introduced at the Interpack show in April this year.
Rigid Needle Shield (RNS)
A new safety device, the RNS, could have advantages over conventional soft elastic needle shields for preventing needle stick injuries.
"No-one knows precisely how frequently healthcare workers injure themselves on needles because a traditional needle protection part has been pierced. But that it frequently happens is beyond doubt," according to Gerresheimer.
Most cases occur when workers put a soft elastic shield - only really designed to protect unused needles from damage - back on a needle that has become crooked.
Gerresheimer's RNS combines a hard, semi-transparent plastic shell around a core of thermoplastic elastomer. The core keeps the needle safe until use and provides a sterile seal.
Backstop, an add-on component, which clips onto the existing finger flange of a glass syringe, simultaneously reducing the aperture diameter and enlarging the finger support is designed to make it easier for injections to be administered properly.
This design "solves two problems which often disrupt the smooth delivery of an injection," said Lingenberg.
Firstly, it prevents the plunger stopper being withdrawn from the syringe altogether, which can be a problem for example when desiccated medicines are dissolved with the help of solvent syringes.
Secondly, the additional support for the middle and index finger makes it easier to administer the injection, particularly for inexperienced users of patients with limited finger agility.
A new range of ultra lightweight syringe needles that make use of thin-walled steel, long bevel tips and a novel silicone coating to help the needle glide through the skin, aim to facilitate pain-free insertion.
A new syringe technology, Tamper Evident Luerlock Closure (TELC) that combines the tamper evident closure and needle adapter, provides a safeguard against syringe tampering and product counterfeits.
Gerresheimer supplies the pharmaceutical industry with pre-sterilised, pre-siliconised and pre-assembled glass syringes.