World School of Pharmacy
World University of Bangladesh
The packaging can be defined as the economical means of
providing presentation, protection, identification,
information, containment, convenience compliance,
integrity and stability for a product during storage,
transportation display and until it is consumed or
throughout its shelf life.
Pharmaceutical packaging is the science, art and technology
of enclosing or protecting products for distribution,
storage, sale, and use. Packaging also refers to the process
of design, evaluation, and production of packages.
Ideal packaging requirements
1. They must protect the preparation from environmental
2. They must not be reactive with the product.
3. They must not impart to the product tastes or odors.
4. They must be nontoxic.
5. They must be FDA approved.
6. They must meet applicable tamper-resistance
7. They must not be the cause of product degradation.
8. They must be adaptable to commonly employed high
speed packaging equipment. 3March 17
Functions of packaging
1. Product Identification: Packaging greatly helps in
identification of products.
2. Product Protection: Packaging protects the contents
of a product from spoilage, breakage, leakage, etc.
3. Facilitating the use of product: Packaging should be
convenience to open, handle and use for the consumers.
4. Product Promotion: Packaging is also used for
promotional and attracting the attention of the people
5. Marketing: The packaging and labels can be used by
marketers to encourage potential buyers to purchase the
6. Convenience: Packages can have features that add
convenience in distribution, handling, stacking, display,
sale, opening, re-closing, use, dispensing, reuse,
recycling, and ease of disposal.
7. Barrier protection: A barrier from oxygen, water vapor,
dust, etc., is often required. Permeation is a critical factor
in design. Some packages contain desiccants or oxygen
absorbency to help extend shelf life. Keeping the
contents clean, fresh, sterile and safe for the intended
shelf life is a primary function.
8. Security: Packaging can play an important role in
reducing the security risks of shipment. Packages can be
made with improved tamper resistance to deter
tampering and also can have tamper-evident features to
help indicate tampering. Packages can be engineered to
help reduce the risks of package pilferage.
Selection of the Packaging Materials
1. On the facilities available, for example, pressurized
dispenser requires special filling equipment.
2. On the ultimate use of product. The product may be
used by skilled person in hospital or may need to be
suitable for use in the home by a patient.
3. On the physical form of the product. For example,
solid, semi-solid, liquids or gaseous dosage form.
4. On the route of administration. For example, oral,
parenteral, external, etc.
5. On the stability of the material. For example,
moisture, oxygen, carbon dioxide, light, trace metals,
temperature or pressure or fluctuation of these may
have a deleterious effect on the product.
6. On the contents. The product may react with the
package such as the release of alkali from the glass or
the corrosion of the metals and in turn the product is
7. On the cost of the product. Expensive products
usually justify expensive packaging
Hazards encountered by package
Hazards encountered by the package can be divided into
three main groups.
a) Mechanical hazards
b) Climatic or environmental hazards
c) Biological hazards.
The only exception is theft, which can be a serious risk with drugs and may
demand special protection in certain cases.
a) Mechanical hazards:
1. Shocking or impact damage
4. Electrical conductance
b) Climatic or environmental hazards:
4. Atmospheric gases
6. Solid airborne contaminants.
c) Biological hazards.
1. Microbiological hazards
2. Chemical hazards
Types of packaging
Primary packaging is the material that first envelops the
product and holds it. This usually is the smallest unit of
distribution or use and is the package which is in direct
contact with the contents. Examples: Ampoules,Vials
,Containers ,Dosing dropper ,Closures (plastic, metal)
,Syringe ,Strip package, Blister packaging.
Secondary packaging is defined as the packaging that lies
outside the primary packaging. It is perhaps used to
group primary packages together. Example: Paper and
boards, Cartons ,Corrugated fibers ,Box manufacture)
Tertiary packaging is used for bulk handling , warehouse
storage and transport shipping. The most common form
is a palletized unit load that packs tightly into containers.
Apart from primary and secondary packaging, two types
of special packaging are currently in use, as follows:
Unit-dose packaging: This packaging guarantees safer
medication by reducing medication errors; it is also more
practical for the patient. It may be very useful in
improving compliance with treatment and may also be
useful for less stable products.
Device packaging: Packaging with the aid of an
administration device is user-friendly and also improves
compliance. This type of packaging permits easier
administration by means of devices such as pre-ﬁlled
syringes, droppers, transdermal delivery systems, pumps
and aerosol sprays. Such devices ensure that the medicinal
product is administered correctly and in the right amount
Types of packaging materials
V) Fibrous material
VI) Films, Foils and laminates
Glass has been widely used as a drug packaging material.
Glass is composed of sand, soda ash, limestone,& cullet.
Si, Al, Na, K, Ca, Mg, Zn & Ba are generally used into
preparation of glass
Advantages of glass:
• They are hygienic and suitable for sterilization
• They are relatively non reactive ( depending on the grade
• It can accept a variety of closures
• They can be used on high speed packaging lines
• They are transparent.
• They have good protection power.
• They can be easily labeled.
• They are available in various shapes and sizes.
• They can withstand the variation in temperature and
pressure during sterilization.
• They are economical and easily available.
• They are neutral after proper treatment.
• They can be sealed hermetically or by removable
• They do not deteriorate with age.
• They are impermeable to atmospheric gases and
• It is relatively heavy
• Glass is fragile so easily broken.
• Release alkali to aqueous preparation
• Photosensitive drug can not be protected in the
transparent glass container. Amber color glass container
is required in this case.
• As glass is a chemical substance, some time it reacts with
the product contained inside it.
Types of glass
• Type I ( Neutral or Borosilicate Glass)
• Type II ( Treated Soda lime glass)
• Type III ( Soda lime glass)
• Type NP ( General purpose soda lime glass)
• Coloured glass
• Neutral glass
March 17 19
Type I (Borosilicate Glass)
Borosilicate Glass is produced by replacing the sodium
oxide by boric oxide(B2O2) and some lime by
alumina (Al2O3) in the basic components of glass.
High melting point and can withstand high
Resistant to chemical substance.
Higher ingredients and processing cost therefore used
for more sensitive pharmaceutical products such as
parenteral or blood products.
Mostly ampoules and vials are made up of Type I
March 17 20
Type II ( Treated Soda lime glass)
Type II glass is made from commercial soda-lime glass that
has been de-alkalized or treated to remove surface alkali.
The de-alkalizing process is known as “Sulfur treatment”.
Sulfur treatment neutralizes the alkaline oxides on the
surface, rendering the glass more chemically resistant.
Higher chemical resistance but not as much as type I.
Cheaper than Type I.
Acceptable for most products accept blood products and
aqueous pharmaceutical with a pH less than 7.March 17 21
Type III ( Soda lime glass)
It is ordinarily glass prepared from silicon dioxide, soda
ash and lime stone and is generally referred to as soda-
lime glass. Glass containers are untreated and made of
commercial soda-lime glass of average or better than
average chemical resistance.
It is cheapest in quality.
This types of glass is not suitable for alkali sensitive
has average or slight better than average resistance and is
suitable for non- aqueous parenterals and non parenteral
Type III glass containers are normally dry sterilized
before being filled.
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Type NP ( General purpose soda lime glass)
It is general purpose soda-lime glass used for oral and
topical preparation. It has lowest hydraulic resistance
and is suitable for solid products, some liquids and semi
solids and not for parenteral.
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Coloured glass is obtained by adding small amounts of
metals during fusion of glass. Coloured glass is used for
light sensitive products which does not allow the UV
rays to pass through it. Coloured glass should not be
used for parenteral preparation because it becomes
difficult to check clarity in such preparations.
March 17 24
It is another commercial variety of glass available in
between soda-lime glass and borosilicate glass.
1. It is resistant to alkalies
2. Resistant to weathering
3. Withstand to autoclaving
4. It is used for the manufacture of multidose vials and
transfusion bottles etc.
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Type of formulation
can be packed
Minimum quality of
glass that can be used
Aqueous Injectables of
Aqueous Injectables of
pH Less Than 7
Non-Aqueous Injectables Type III
Aqueous Injectables of
Aqueous Injectables of
pH Less Than 7
Non-Aqueous Injectables Type III
Dry Powders For
Parenteral Use (Need To
Be Reconstituted Before
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Type of formulation
can be packed
Minimum quality of
glass that can be used
Bottles and Jars
Tablets, Capsules, Oral Solids &
Other Solids For Reconstitution
Oral Liquids (Solutions,
Nasal & Ear Drops Type IV
Certain Types Of External
Semisolids (Rubeficients, Local
Blood & Related Products Type I
Auxiliary Packaging Device
With Certain Kind Of Products
Aerosol product ( solution,
suspension, emulsion or
Test for glass materials
U.S.P. and I.P. provides two testes to determine the
chemical resistance of glass containers:
• Test for surface hydrolytic resistance.
• Test for hydrolytic resistance of powdered glass.
March 17 28
According to British standards institutes plastics
“ A wide range of solid composite materials which are
largely organic, usually based upon synthetic resins or
upon modified polymers of natural origin and possessing
appreciable mechanical strength. At a suitable stage in
their manufacturing, most plastics can be cast, molded or
polymerized directly into shape”.
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Types of plastic materials
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Thermoplastic type Thermosetting type
On heating, they are soften to viscous fluid which hardens
again on cooling. Resistant to breakage and cheap to
produce and providing the right plastics are chosen will
provide the necessary protection of the product in an
attractive containers. E.g. polyethylene, PVC, polystyrene,
polypropylene, polyamide, polycarbonate.
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When heated, they may become flexible but they do not
become liquid. During heating such materials form
permanent crosslinks between the linear chains, resulting in
solidification and loss of plastic flow. E.g. Phenol
formaldehyde, urea formaldehyde, melamine formaldehyde.
Advantages of plastic materials
Low in cost
Light in weight
Pleasant to touch
Flexible facilitating product dispensing
Odorless and inert to most chemicals
Able to retain their shape throughout their use
They have a unique suck-back feature, which prevents product
Ease of transportation
They are poor conductor of heat.
They are resistant to inorganic chemicals.
They have good protection power.
March 17 32
Disadvantages of plastic materials
Plastics appear to have certain disadvantages like
interaction, adsorption, absorption lightness and hence
poor physical stability.
All are permeable to some degree to moisture, oxygen,
carbon dioxide etc and most exhibit electrostatic
attraction, allow penetration of light rays unless
pigmented, black etc.
Other negative features include:
Stress cracking: A phenomenon related to low density
polythene and certain stress cracking agents such as
wetting agents, detergents and some volatile oils.
March 17 33
Paneling or cavitation: where by a container inward distortion or
partial collapse owing to absorption causing swelling of the plastic
dimpling following a steam autoclaving operation.
Crazing: A surface reticulation which can occur particularly with
polystyrene and chemical substances (e.g. isopropyl myristate
which first causes crazing and ultimately reaches of total
embitterment and disintegration).
Poor key of print: Certain plastics such as the poly olefins need
pre-treating before ink will key. Additives that migrate to the
surface of the plastic may also cause printing problem.
Poor impact resistance: Both polystyrene and PVC have poor
resistance. This can be improved by the inclusion of impact
modifiers such as rubber in case of polystyrene and methyl
methacrylate butadiene styrene for PVC.
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This is used as high and low density polyethylene
Low density polyethylene (LDPE) is preferred plastic for squeeze bottles.
Properties: Ease of processing , barrier to moisture, strength /toughness, flexibility, ease
High density poly ethylene (HDPE) is less permeable to gases and more resistant to
oils, chemicals and solvents.
Properties: Stiffness, strength / toughness, resistance to chemicals.
It is widely used in bottles for solid dosage forms.
Drawback: prone to stress cracking in the presence of surfactants or vegetable or
It has good resistance to cracking when flexed.
Good resistance to heat sterilization.
It is colorless, odorless thermoplastic material with excellent tensile properties even
at high temperature.
Excellent resistance to strong acids and alkalis.
Low permeability to water vapour
Permeability to gases is intermediate between polyethylene HD and un-plasticized
Suitable for use in closures , tablet containers and intravenous bottles.
March 17 36
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC):
Versatility , ease of blending, strength / toughness, resistance to grease/oil, resistance to
Used as rigid packaging material and main component of intravenous bags.
Drawback: Poor impact resistance which can be improved by adding elastomers to the plastics
but it will increase its permeability.
Poly vinyledene chloride (PVDC):
• Excellent barrier properties against: moisture, water vapour, UV light, aroma, inorganic acids,
alkalies, aqueous salt solutions, organic water soluble acids, aliphatic hydrocarbons , esters of
long chain fatty acids, detergent base materials, emulsifying agents and wetting agents.
• Good thermoform ability.
• PVDC is very cost-effective, as coating weight can be customized depending on the
requirements of the barrier properties.
• Medical grade and non-toxic.
• High levels of transparency which improves the aesthetics of the product.
Versatility, insulation, clarity, easily foamed (“Styrofoam”).
It is also used for jars for ointments and creams with low water content.
Drawback: Chemicals like isopropyl myristate produce crazing(a fine network of surface
cracks) followed by weakening and eventually collapsible of the container.
March 17 37
Plastic bottles made from
PP, HDPE and PS
Plastic pouches of HDPE Bottle- PET and
Product-plastic interactions have been divided into five
Alteration in the physical properties of plastics or
March 17 38
Constituents of plastic containers
The residues, additives, and processing aids that may be used,
and therefore possibly extracted from plastic include:
March 17 39
Tests for plastic containers
The plastic containers (non injectables and injectables):
Fill 10 plastic containers with water and fit the closure.
Keep them inverted at room temperature for 24 hours.
No sign of leakage should be there from any container.
Water permeability test:
Fill 5 containers with nominal volume of water and sealed.
Weigh each container. Allow to stand for 14 days at
relative humidity of 60% at 20-25 degree Celsius.
reweigh the container. Loss of weight in each container
should not be more than 0.2%.
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Metal containers are used solely for medicinal products
for non-parenteral administration.
Metal is strong, opaque, impermeable to moisture, gases,
odors, light, bacteria, and shatterproof, it is the ideal
packaging material for pressurized containers.
It is resistant to high and low temperatures
They include tubes, packs made from foil or blisters,
cans, and aerosol and gas cylinders.
Aluminium and stainless steel are the metals of choice for
both primary and secondary packaging for medicinal
Form an excellent tamper evident containers.
March 17 42
1. It is relatively light yet strong
2. Barrier to light and chemicals
3. Impermeable and easy to work into a variety of formats,
depending on its thickness.
Thickest aluminium is used for rigid containers such as
aerosol cans and tubes for effervescent tablets.
Intermediate thickness are when mechanical integrity is
still important but the pack should be capable of being
reformed under a reasonable force. e.g. Collapsible tubes
for semi solid preparations or roll on screw caps.
Thinnest aluminium is used in flexible foil that are usually
a component of laminated packaging material.
March 17 43
Disadvantages and their overcome solution
• Major disadvantage is its reactivity in raw state, although
it rapidly forms a protective film of aluminium oxide it is
still liable to corrosion ( when exposed to some liquids
and semi solid formulations, particularly at extreme pH
or if the product contains electrolytes.
Overcome: To overcome this problem, Aluminium is lined
with epoxide, vinyl or phenolic resins.
• They are work hardening like collapsible tubes are made
by impact extrusion which tends to make aluminium less
Overcome: To overcome, flexibility has to restored by an
March 17 44
Tin containers are preferred for food, pharmaceuticals and
any product for which purity is considered.
Tin is the most chemically inert of all collapsible metal
March 17 45
Lead has the lowest cost of all tube metals and is widely
used for non food products such as adhesives, inks. paints and
Lead should never be used alone for anything taken
internally because of the risk lead poison .
With internal linings, lead tubes are used for products such
as chloride tooth paste.
If the product is not compatible with bare metal, the interior
can be flushed with wax-type formulation or with resin
solutions, although the resins or lacquers are usually
sprayed on. A tube with an epoxy lining costs about 25%
more than the same tube uncoated. Wax linings are most
often used with water-based products in tin tubes, and
phenolic, epoxides, and vinyls are used with aluminium
tubes, giving better protection than wax, but at a higher
March 17 46
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• Excellent material for forming seals, used to form closures
such as bungs for vials or in similar applications such as
gaskets in aerosol cans.
Categories of Rubbers:
1) Natural rubbers: Suitable for multiple use closures for
injectable products as rubber reseals after multiple insertion
• Disadvantages are;
i. It doesn't well tolerate multiple autoclaving becoming
brittle and leads to relative degree of extractable
material in presence of additives.
ii. Risk of product absorbing on or in to a rubber.
iii.It has certain degree of moisture & gas permeation.
2) Synthetic rubber:
• Have fewer additives and thus fewer extractable and tends
to experience less sorption of product ingredients.
• Are less suitable for repeated insertions of needle because
they tend to fragment or core pushing small particles of
the rubber in to the product. e.g. Silicone, butyl,
bromobutyl, chlorobutyl etc.
• Silicone is least reactive but it does experience
permeability to moisture and gas.
Softer rubbers experience less coring and reseal better,
harder rubbers are easier to process on high speed
March 17 48
The fibrous materials are the important part of pharmaceutical packaging.
Fibrous materials include: Papers, Labels, Cartons, Bags, Outers etc.
The Applications as well as Advantages of Cartons include:
Increases display area
Provides better stacking for display of stock items
Provides physical protection especially to items like metal collapsible tubes.
Fiberboard outers either as solid or corrugated board also find substantial
application for bulk shipments.
Regenerated cellulose film, trade names Cellophane & Rayophane, is used for
either individual cartons or to assemble a no. of cartons.
March 17 49
Films, foils & laminates
◦ Applicable to tablets, capsules, pills, etc.
◦ It's a good substitute for PVC sheet.
◦ No cracking, delamination or pinholes
◦ It has the quite good blocking properties effectively protecting
drugs from water vapor, oxygen and ultraviolet.
◦ It can extend the storage period of drugs.
◦ It is particularly suitable for packing moisture-sensitive drugs or
those sold in the hot and humid areas.
◦ Taking out a part of the drugs from the drug boards without any
impact on other well-packaged drugs.
◦ It is used by cold-moulding packaging machines.
◦ It is shaped easily by changing the mold.
◦ Nice appearance can upgrade drug's image
March 17 50
Blister packaging is a type of pre-formed plastic packaging commonly
used as unit dose packaging for pharmaceuticals such as tablets,
capsules or lozenges.
Blister packs consist of two principal components :
1) The cavity made from either plastic or aluminium.
2) the lidding, made from paper board, paper, plastic or aluminium.
The cavity contains the product and the lidding seals the product in the
There are two types of forming the cavity into a base web sheet:
thermoforming and cold forming
March 17 51
In the case of thermoforming, a plastic film or sheet is unwound from
the reel and guided though a pre-heating station on the blister line
The temperature of the pre-heating plates (upper and lower plates) is
such that the plastic will soften and become moldable.
March 17 52
• In the case of cold forming, an aluminum-based laminate film is
simply pressed into a mold by means of a stamp.
• The aluminum will be elongated and maintain the formed shape.
• Advantage of cold form foil blisters is that the use of aluminum is
offering a near complete barrier for water and oxygen, allowing an
extended product expiry date.
• The disadvantages of cold form foil blisters are the slower speed of
production compared to thermoforming and the lack of transparency
of the package and the larger size of the blister card
Materials used in blister packaging
COC (Cyclic olefin copolymers )
PETg (glycol-modified polyethylene terephthalate)
March 17 53
Strip packaging is an alternative form of pack for a unit
dosage. It is a method of enclosing the product concerned
between the two web of material so that each is contained
between separate compartment.
Two web of material may not be necessary to be identical.
March 17 55
It is commonly used for the packaging of tablets and
capsules. A strip package is formed by feeding two webs of a
heat sealable flexible film through a heated crimping roller
.The product is dropped into the pocket formed before
forming the final set of seals. A continuous strip of packets is
formed which is cut to the desired number of packets in
The materials used for strip package are cellophane,
polyester, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinylchloride.
March 17 56
Closures are the devices by means of which containers can be
opened and closed. Proper closing of the container is necessary
◦ It prevents loss of material by spilling or volatilization.
◦ It avoids contamination of the product from dirt, microorganisms
◦ It prevents deterioration of the product from the effect of the
environment such as moisture , oxygen or carbon dioxide.
Material used for closures are;
The closures for containers meant for storage of pharmaceutical
products are generally made from the following basic materials.
*Cork *Glass *Plastic *Metal *Rubber
March 17 57
Symbols used on packages and labels
March 17 58
Fragile This way up
Keep away from
Keep away from
March 17 59
Quality Assurance Aspects of Packaging
To ensure that patients and consumers receive high-quality drugs, the quality
management system must take the following considerations into account if the
required quality of packaging is to be obtained:
◦ — the requirements of the national authorities and the relevant legislation
◦ — the product
◦ — the production process
◦ — the manufacturers’ internal policies (safety, marketing, etc.).
Bad packaging which is the result of deficiencies in the quality assurance system
for packaging can have serious consequences, and packaging defects can create
problems that may result in drug recalls. Such defects may include breakage, and
problems relating to printing or inks, or errors on labels and package inserts
(patient information leaflets). The use of GMP and quality control will prevent
the release of a defective medicinal product.
Packaging processes and equipment need validation/qualification in the same
way as any other part of processing within a pharmaceutical facility.
March 17 60
Sampling and testing of packaging materials
Sampling is used;
To check the correctness of the label, packaging material or container reference, as well as in the
acceptance of consignments,
Detecting adulteration of the medicinal product, obtaining a sample for retention, etc.
The sampling procedure must take into account the homogeneity and uniformity of the material so
as to ensure that the sample is representative of the entire batch.
The sampling procedure should be described in a written protocol.
Quality control tests are intended to check the identity of the material concerned. Complete
pharmacopoeial or analogous testing may also be carried out, as may special tests, where necessary. All
written specifications for packaging materials and containers should include the nature, extent and frequency
of routine tests. Routine tests vary according to the type of material and its immediate packaging, the use of
the product, and the route of administration. Nevertheless, such tests usually include the following:
◦ — visual inspection (cleanliness, defects)
◦ — tests to identify the material
◦ — dimensional tests
◦ — physical tests
◦ — chemical tests
◦ — microbiological tests
March 17 61
Package validation involves two separate validations:
1) The design validation of the package as a component of the device.
Design validation uses evidence to establish what design specifications will
conform with the user needs and the intended use and
2) The process validation of the packaging process. Process validation
establishes by objective evidence that a process consistently produces a
result or product that meets predetermined specifications.
The regulation, of course, refers to establishing evidence that the
manufacturing steps involved in packaging the device will consistently
produce packaging which meets specifications. For example, the process
capability of packaging and sealing equipment should be determined during
process validation and documented. Validation of the package design shall
be performed under actual or simulated use conditions that show the
package conforms to its stated intended uses. Risk analysis shall also be
included where appropriate.
March 17 62
Design validation results shall include: the design identification, name
of the individual(s) performing the validation, method(s) used, and the
date. All of this information should be recorded in the design history
file. If any significant change is made in the packaging or packaging
operation after validation, the new process will need to be revalidated.
One of the most difficult aspects of package validation is determining
how many samples to test. The goal is not to over test because of cost
considerations while still running sufficient tests to provide
statistically valid sampling. Statistical methods of analysis are
important in process validation. The following decision tree from
Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry, "Streamlining Package-Seal
Validation," October 1992, provides various methods of statistical
analysis. The manufacturer is challenged with determining which
statistical method is most applicable to their individual needs. The
resulting validation plan should identify, measure, and evaluate the
key processes and variables that will require assessment to complete a
validation or revalidation of the packaging and the packaging process.
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