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Embracing intelligent packaging enhances branding exercise of pharma companies

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by Naveen A , Research Analyst, Packaging
1 January 2017


The pharma industry has always been a highly regulated industry by various international and domestic regulatory bodies. It is expected that more regulations will be implemented in the coming years to improve supply chain transparency, prevent anti-counterfeiting and enhance details on packaging. This puts pharma companies at a major disadvantage when they want to implement brand elements which would help in product differentiation.Furthermore, off-patenting of major drugsby leading pharma manufacturerssuch as Eli-Lily, Merck, and Bristol Myers Squibb in 2017 will drive these companies to offset losses by implementing cost-effective measures. However, to continue sustaining in the market of increased generic drugs, pharma companies will have to adopt innovative packagingto increase brand appeal among consumers.For such companies, intelligent pharma packaging could be an attractive area of investment. It would be very surprising what companies can achieve with adoption of RFIDs, QR codes, and other technologies. OTC drugs also have the opportunities to implement augmented reality and virtual reality techniques in their packaging. Taking all these latest developments into consideration, it would benefit pharma companies to know about these emerging trends in the market. Thearticle hopes to shed light on how intelligent packaging solutions and technologies are adopted inthe pharma industry while adhering to the existing regulations. The article will also provide details as to how and what pharma companies can do to implement intelligent packaging.

Evolution of intelligent packaging

Traditional packaging has been around since the 1900s and has come a long way from just product protection. Companies have been using packaging for displaying product information, creating brand awareness,etc. Packaging is even now expected to witness a mature demand of around 4percentglobally until 2021. More and more developments in packaging have opened the scope for various functionalities. Companies are implementing active packaging technologies such as antimicrobial agents, moisture control, and gas scavengingto improve the shelf life of products and provide a feel of premium packaging. While packaging technologies have also been in existence from the 1960s, they have lost appeal among consumers as being special.

Currently the smart packaging market is valued at close to $13 bnand expected to grow at 10-11percentuntil 2021 reaching $20 bn. Active Packaging contributes to 75percentof the market share growing at 8-9percentwhereas intelligent packaging contributes to 25percentof the market growing at 13-14percentuntil 2021. The F&B segment is the major end-use industry currently contributing to 46percentof the market share.

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