Design Considerations: Pharmaceutical Packaging

Posted by Rob Helmke | Tuesday, December 3, 2013 0 Comments

Pharmaceuticals are some of the most sensitive products on store shelves today. Between delicate chemical compositions, risk of theft and potential for accidental misuse, products like medications have to be thoughtfully packaged before they're ready to be sold. At PI, we specialize in a wide variety of pharmaceutical packaging types, and we've learned the most critical design considerations from firsthand experience. Here are a few things to keep in mind.


Maintaining the integrity of products like medications is arguably the most important aspect of designing pharmaceutical packaging. If plastic packaging isn't designed with care, it can contaminate the product and make it unfit for use.

At PI, we respond to that need by manufacturing in a special clean room environment. This means that everything from the tooling to the plastic packaging itself stays safe and contaminant-free from start to finish. And don't forget, of course, that the product has to remain safe long after it leaves the facility—if the packaging has any defects that allow contaminants in, it can compromise the product.

Design Considerations: Pharmaceutical Packaging

Unit Dose Packaging

Unit dose plastic packaging makes pharmaceutical products easier and safer for consumers. This is a type of pharmaceutical packaging in which the product is divided into doses—a perfect example is blister packaging sealed with foil. In blister packaging, doses are separated into cavities that can be opened individually, decreasing the risk of non-compliance.

Ease of Opening

Pharmaceutical packaging design requires walking a fine line between accessibility and security, and it all depends on what specifically is being packaged. For example, an arthritis medication may need to be easy for senior citizens to open, but difficult for children to figure out. At PI, we've worked with a wide enough variety of pharmaceuticals to understand the subtle differences between one medication's ideal packaging and another's.

Of course, these aren't the only things that deserve special attention when designing pharmaceutical packaging—it's an extremely complex industry. They are a starting point, though, and considerations that no designer should ever ignore.

The Secrets of Successful Packaging

Topics: Medical packaging