Swedish packaging manufacturer Cerbo has developed a novel closure for tablet bottles as a user-friendly alternative for those who have limited dexterity in their hands and fingers.
The new packaging design combines a closure with a dispensing function, making it easier to obtain a smaller number of tablets and avoid spilling tablets as can happen with containers with large openings.
The bottle itself remains the standard design, but a unique feature is in the membrane inside the closure. This membrane is easily opened by pulling a ring-pull tab, which breaks the membrane seal leaving a key-hole like opening with a rim of about 9mm.
The lid is then replaced, the bottle turned upside down and shaken a little, and then returned the right way up. When the lid is removed, one or two tablets will be sitting in the rim of the pot on top of the membrane. Next time the pot just needs to be turned upside down and back as the membrane is already broken.
The innovation was inspired by a patient who had suffered a stroke, and as a result struggled to get his medication from the standard bottle. He came up with a novel closure design and then approached Cerbo directly, as the manufacturer of the packaging his medication had come in.
A little over a year later, the new product has completed development, and the company say it is simple, hygienic and meets pharmaceutical requirements for seal integrity.
The product can be modified for different sized tablets, and while the firm says that at present they have concentrated on sizes that will cover a range of different tablets it confirmed that development is still possible and there is the potential to custom manufacture the closure for specific customers.
The new product is simply a modification of an existing closure from Cerbo's other lines, and as such the features from the company's other products can also apply, for example different coloured bottles in a range of sizes.
To begin with, the cost of bottles with the new closure is likely to be slightly more than Cerbo's other standard products, but the company is confident that after the initial period of investment the cost will drop to the same level as its other tablet bottles.
The product, showcased at the recent Pharmapack conference in Paris, has generated a lot of interest according to the company, which has fielded enquiries from several pharmaceutical firms, primarily in the European market.
"Right now we need partners," a spokesperson for the company told In-Pharmatechnologist.com. "A lot of companies think it is very interesting, but the process is very long."
The company is taking advantage of the growing emphasis within the pharmaceutical industry on packaging that is aimed at the elderly or infirm, or those who may have limited ability in their hands and fingers. Standard packaging can often prove difficult for those with conditions such as arthritis or Parkinson's disease, where a degree of strength or precision and stability is required to successfully dispense the required medication. The company is also working in collaboration with the Swedish Rheumatic Society on other products to tackle this need.
In addition to the market for drugs to treat patients with limited dexterity in their hands, the product would also seem to satisfy another pharmaceutical packaging need in its child-proof potential. By only dispensing a few tablets at a time, risk to children accidentally coming across tablet bottles and swallowing any spilled contents is significantly reduced.