Drug packaging

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Tablets in a blister pack in folding carton

Pharmaceutical packaging (drug packaging) refers to the packages and the packaging processes for pharmaceutical preparations. It involves all of the operations from production through distribution channels to the end consumer.

Pharmaceutical packaging is highly regulated but with some variation in the details, depending on the country of origin or the region. Several common factors can include: assurance of patient safety, assurance of the efficacy of the drug through the intended shelf life, uniformity of the drug through different production lots, thorough documentation of all materials and processes, control of possible migration of packaging components into the drug, control of degradation of the drug by oxygen, moisture, heat, etc, prevention of microbial contamination, sterility, etc. Packaging is often involved in dispensing, dosing, and use of the pharmaceutical product. Communication of proper use and cautionary labels are also regulated. Packaging is an intregal part of pharmaceutical product. [1] [2]

Prescription labels[edit]

Prescription drug packaging often comes with a drug label.[3] Even though drugs come with instructions, it is best for patients to talk with their physician and their pharmacist about using a drug.[4] The patient can then use the label for additional information and for ideas on questions to ask their health care provider.[4]

The prescription label usually contains the this information:[3]

  • pharmacy name
  • name of the physician who wrote the prescription
  • brand of the drug
  • generic name of the drug
  • instructions for taking the drug
  • safety alerts
  • drug expiration
  • patient name
  • any identifying number for the prescription
  • date the prescription was filled
  • dose of the drug
  • number of drug refills permitted

Along with the label on the bottle, some pharmacies may provide a "patient information sheet".[3] This document presents additional patient information and might give more details, like advising if the patient should take a drug with food or giving instructions in the case of missing a dose.[3] The patient information sheet can assist a patient in talking with their physician by suggesting questions to ask and directing patients to speak up if they are taking certain other drugs or have certain other medical conditions.[3]

Drug bottles[edit]

Drug bottles are containers that contain prescription drugs prescribed by physicians. Prescription bottles are generally found in pharmacies.

Prescription bottles have been around since the 19th-century.[5] Throughout the 19th and 20th-centuries, prescription medication bottles were called medicinal bottles.[5] There are many styles and shapes of prescription bottles.[5]

Prescription bottles come in several different colors, the most common of which being orange or light brown due to its ability to prevent ultraviolet light from degrading the potentially photosensitive contents through photochemical reactions, while still letting enough visible light through for the contents to be easily visible. Other common colors include: Clear (for compounds that don't degrade in light), blue, dark brown, green, and various opaque hues.[6]


Packaging of prescriptions is often highly regulated, depending own the contents and the location. Child-resistant packaging is often called for; this consists of special caps or closures which are designed to deter children from opening the containers.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Santoro, MIRM (2009). "Pharmaceutical Packaging". In Yam, K L. Encyclopedia of Packaging Technology. Wiley. pp. 205–216. ISBN 978-0-470-08704-6. 
  2. ^ Kunal, Mehta (July 2012). "Recent Trends in Pharmaceutical Packaging: A Review" (PDF). INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHARMACEUTICAL AND CHEMICAL SCIENCES. 1 (3): 1282–1292. Retrieved 24 June 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Consumer Reports (January 2012). "Drug Safety: Reading Labels and Patient Information" (PDF). consumerreports.org. 
  4. ^ a b Consumer Reports (January 2012). "Drug Safety: Taking Drugs as Directed" (PDF). consumerreports.org. 
  5. ^ a b c Lindsey, Bill (20 November 2016). "Medicinal/Chemical/Druggist Bottles". sha.org. Society for Historical Archaeology. 
  6. ^ "Why are Many Bottles Brown?". Retrieved 1 January 2014. 

General references[edit]

  • anon, Guidance for Industry:Q8 (R2) Pharmaceutical Development, US FDA, 2009, [1]
  • Lockhart, H., and Paine, F.A., "Packaging of Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Products", 2006, Blackie, ISBN 0-7514-0167-6
  • Pilchik, R., "Validating Medical Packaging" 2002, ISBN 1-56676-807-1
  • Rosette, J. L, "Improving Tamper-Evident Packaging: Problems, Tests and Solutions", 1992
  • Soroka, W, "Fundamentals of Packaging Technology", IoPP, 2002, ISBN 1-930268-25-4
  • Soroka, W, Illustrated Glossary of Packaging Terminology, Institute of Packaging Professionals, [2]
  • Yam, K. L., "Encyclopedia of Packaging Technology", John Wiley & Sons, 2009, ISBN 978-0-470-08704-6