There’s been a shift in global medicine, and its ripples continue to spread. New drug development in traditional markets has slowed, and specialty drugs – typically biologics used for conditions requiring complex treatment, such as cancer – will be the largest contributor to branded drug spending growth by 2017. In fact, specialty drug development is expected to increase by 30 percent over the next 5 years, outpacing most other medical spending, according to IMS Health.
This pivot affects packaging manufacturers, too. Biologics and other specialty drugs are usually produced in small batches, pushing manufacturers to be more agile and quickly change their production schedules for different products.
Reducing process complexity is one goal for these packaging experts, but quality control can’t be overlooked. These high-value drugs are expensive to produce, and even a one percent failure rate can lead to unprofitability. These factors have forced drug packaging manufacturers to rethink filling processes, and opened the door for ready-to-use (RTU) solutions. RTU concepts for syringes have been common practice for decades, but the concept has just recently been adapted for vials and cartridges.