Upping sustainability in pharma packaging

How to make pharma packaging sustainable was one of the major discussion topics at PHARMAPACK 2023.


From glass vials, over cardboard applications, and biodegradable containers, at the PHARMAPACK Europe 2023 taking place on February 1st and 2nd in Paris, the shift in priorities of the industry was clearly visible. More than 6,000 attendees and over 350 exhibitors showcased innovations and how the priority of environmentally-friendly packaging alternatives has been accelerated significantly post-pandemic. “On the exhibition floor this year you could see first-hand just how much money, time and effort is being invested into sustainability,” noted the event’s brand manager Laura Murina-Indriksone. “What’s interesting is that sustainability is not only integral to pharma companies’ strategies but also a key part of their promotion, marketing and positioning now – all over PHARMAPACK you are seeing companies make big efforts to explain and discuss their latest sustainability initiatives.”

The awards mirrored that sentiment. Ground-breaking innovations were awarded for novel drug delivery solutions, reusable connected devices, and recyclable packaging. In the category “sustainability initiative” for example, the winner, Körber Pharma Packaging Materials AG got to display their sustainable Covid Rapid Tester out of recyclable cardboard mono material. The award of “Eco-Design” went to the 100% PET, PVC- and aluminum-free, and thus recyclable blister by Rotor Print S.L.

Indeed, many of the exhibitors’ booths were highlighting how their products were more sustainable, recyclable, and reusable than any before. But the exhibitors with their products on display and alluring goodies were not the only attraction of this year’s PHARMAPACK. The “learning labs” held space for research and product presentations, the innovation gallery allowed the close-up and side by side inspection of high-end products and all of this was sprinkled with the luxurious feeling of Paris by providing crepes, coffee, and croissants for everyone as well as live music. With such plethora in products and possibilities that comply with the health and safety standards established for pharmaceutical packaging companies are well advised not to offer any green-washed alternatives. And so many rose to the occasion.

The innovative power of the pharmaceutical and biotech industries as well as the importance of sustainable and reusable drug containment and delivery solutions were a big takeaway of this exhibition. Let’s hope the regulators and governments will acknowledge this huge shift and consequentially alleviate as many obstacles as possible for companies trying to invest their resources in a more sustainable packaging. Read the full report on the PHARMAPACK event in the upcoming print issue of European Biotechnology Magazine.


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