Industry trends driving innovation and education at Pharma EXPO 2016.
Before the cleanup of Times Square in New York City at the turn of the century, the street hucksters and electronics shops were havens for moving counterfeit goods. There was money to be made in knock-off clothing, shoes, accessories—basically, anything that a particular clientele wanted at a discount. While counterfeiting of dry goods is still a global problem, pharmaceuticals have skyrocketed to the number one slot as the most lucrative counterfeit market, according to the 2016 Brand Protection and Product Traceability Report from PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.
The global counterfeit drug market originates $75 billion in revenue and is growing three percent annually. The international nature of the issue has created a need for preventative regulations around the world. Globally, processors have recognized that as the world shrinks and the ability to do business across multiple continents eases, the opportunity for counterfeiting grows. From initial blending through final secondary packaging, a single pill can pass through a dozen countries during manufacturing. Each stop along the way presents a place for counterfeits to enter the supply chain, directly increasing the demand for anti-counterfeiting solutions. The good news, according to PMMI’s report, is that by the end of 2018 regulations should be in place for 75 percent of the world’s prescription medications. In fact, the study predicts anti-counterfeiting measures to grow at a CAGR ranging from 12.8 to 16.1 percent over the next five years.
The pharmaceutical industry now investigates more thoroughly each stage of the supply chain from incoming materials to primary and secondary packaging through palletizing and transportation. For now, 1D barcoding is the most applied immediate solution, but PMMI’s study also shows significant growth in temperature sensors when product comes off the line, and the use of pallet tags, RFID tags, and smart inks may grow with the accessibility of these technologies.
Anti-counterfeiting only represents one issue for pharmaceutical processors. While fighting more nefarious foes, companies also need to stay abreast of market trends, operational improvements, and developing technologies. Additionally, there are the constant pressures—relevant in any market—to reduce expenses and waste, while increasing efficiency and patient safety. In the U.S., aging consumers crave user-friendly packaging, while pharmacists and medical professionals require accuracy-enhancing dosing to work mistake-free in fast-paced environments.
Fortunately, Pharma EXPO (McCormick Place, Chicago; Nov. 6 – 9, 2016), co-produced by PMMI and the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE), provides a world-class event for pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and medical device manufacturers to address every challenge consumers and regulators present.
Because of Pharma EXPO’s unique co-location with PACK EXPO, pharmaceutical industry professionals can draw inspiration from other industry segments. This cross-pollination of ideas has become a staple of previous shows. This year’s largest ever edition, with a combined 2,500 exhibitors and 50,000 attendees, should prove to be no exception.
Another way Pharma EXPO offers solutions to industry challenges is through a robust educational program that includes a dedicated Innovation Stage at Pharma EXPO and The Pharma EXPO Conference Program organized by ISPE. The Pharma EXPO Conference Program will be held in the West Building (Room W-190A) and will provide a classroom-like atmosphere for learning with three tracks covering manufacturing operations, compliance trends, and pharmaceutical packaging. Each track runs one day of the three-day conference and includes five 50-minute sessions. Designed for the convenience of on-the-go show attendees, the Innovation Stage provides a total of fourteen free, on-floor, half-hour sessions from Nov. 7–9.
Both programs will address the latest technologies and practices in combating counterfeit drugs, packaging for patient safety, and enhancing efficiency and flexibility. These include The Pharma EXPO Conference Program’s session on smart packaging for pharmaceutical authentication and patient compliance on Wednesday, Nov. 9. Within the topic of anti-counterfeiting measures, serialization will be a core focus. Attendees can choose from a range of sessions addressing technologies and best practices, including the conference’s dedicated panel presentation and discussion on serialization and compliance on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Beyond serialization and anti-counterfeiting solutions, the broader subjects of operational efficiency and flexibility are other topics dominating both platforms. Day one of the conference will explore technologies designed to improve efficiency and flexibility in pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical plants. Sessions include explorations of modular and prefabricated cleanroom structures, single-use filling systems, and leveraging the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Packaging for patient safety is also an important theme running through both the conference and Innovation Stage programming. A conference session on Wednesday, Nov. 9, will examine the close inspection of container closure integrity and the Innovation Stage will house presentations on child-resistant and tamper-evident cartons, combating moisture ingress and ultrasonic sealing of thin-film flexible packaging for the prevention of oxygen transmission.
The conference at Pharma EXPO costs $500 for the full three-day conference, $220 for a one-day pass, or $140 per session.
To register for Pharma EXPO, visit www.pharmaexpo.com. Attendees will have access to both shows (PACK and Pharma Expo) with one badge.
Lead image photo credit: PACK Expo.