Glass or polymer?

Which material is better suited for filling medications is one of the most frequently asked questions in the pharmaceutical industry. Glass dominates the market, but the use of polymer is expected to grow in the next few years. So what is the best approach to finding the right solution?

Which material is better suited for filling medications is one of the most frequently asked questions in the pharmaceutical industry. Glass dominates the market, but the use of polymer is expected to grow in the next few years. So what is the best approach to finding the right solution?

Glass’s excellent barrier properties and regulatory ease make it the first choice for drug manufacturers, but polymer’s stability and inert properties, as well as its wide design options, make it an attractive choice as well.

To find out what works best, together with the drug maker SCHOTT’s experts examine the intended use of a drug and the filling process. During this process they consider the three Ps — product, process, and patient — as a best practice: Does the drug require particularly inert packaging materials? How important are design flexibility, tighter tolerances, and superior break resistance? Do we have to consider integration with safety devices or autoinjectors? Does the packaging have to be compatible with different filling machines and ensure easy regulatory pathways for drug approval? And, most importantly, have we considered patient comfort and needs appropriately?

It depends on the application:

The anticoagulant Heparin, for example, has been stored in glass prefilled syringes for decades without any major recalls or drug contamination cases, making glass an easy choice. Compare that to dermal fillers, typically, highly viscous substances that need to be stored in packaging that allows for consistent gliding force and a robust Luer lock, which is integrated in a polymer syringe. So in this case, polymer has proved to be the material of choice

To sum it up: Each material has its strengths and weaknesses, and drug makers must take a holistic view when deciding on a material for a particular application.

January 21st, 2017

Contact

Rina Della Vecchia
Marketing & Communication
SCHOTT North America, Inc.

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