- Recent regulations requiring medical product serialization or unique device identification, an aging population and pressures to pricing is shifting how manufacturers invest in equipment, according to a recent report by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.
- Original equipment manufacturers are being swamped with new demands worldwide as pharmaceutical and medical device clients demand updated equipment capable of complying with regulations.
- The rise in demand has also led to increased use of contract manufacturing and packaging organizations, contributing to a growth in "virtual manufacturing" where small-to-medium pharmaceutical companies do not produce any of their own goods.
The wave of regulations pushing tracking requirements on the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries is accelerating the speed of growth among medical supply chains.
"On both ends from the front of the line to the end of the line there is equipment needs that are driving this change," said Donna Ritson, owner of DDR Communications at a press conference during Pack Expo International 2016.
Two thirds of the sectors' companies are looking to update their equipment to include labeling, coding or visibility capabilities, and contract manufacturers and packagers are benefiting from the increased needs.
"The whole serialization and the unique device identification that's going on is definitely top of mind for all of these companies," she added. The rules require companies be able to track every step of production in case of the recall, and then be able to ask the pharmacy, clinic or distributor to pull it out of the shelf and return it. Machinery capable of tracking users, time, moment of production while creating unique records within an internal database are now a necessity.
"Hence, the reason that you're seeing such an increase in the labeling and coding and marketing equipment so is just that," she added. "Those are the equipment that's needed to serialize, code, mark and track products through the supply chain"
Ritson noted most large companies are already ahead of the curve in implementation of this technology, but 52% of the companies interviewed must still comply with the regulations. In addition, equipment manufacturers are looking toward rapid advances in technology to develop adequate machinery.
Yet Ritson added companies must consider the types of new drugs that are coming and the machinery necessary to produce them efficiently, as personalized dosages of combination drugs or in-time release drugs present complex challenges.
"All we hear [from respondents] is more throughput, fast machines, quicker changeover, we need machines more integrated everything needs to be moving at a faster pace - then it's really to keep up with the demand of what's going on in the drug industry," she said.