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Blister Pack Blues: The Struggle To Extract Vital Medication

Source: AMETEK Brookfield

Blister packs offer many advantages, so it is not surprising to learn that the pharmaceutical industry is rapidly adopting this choice for medication packaging. According to the Pharmaceutical Packaging Industry 2011 yearbook, blister packs accounted for 17% of the global pharmaceutical packaging industry with $8.1 billion in revenue. Blister packs are commonly used in nursing homes and similar care settings where mandatory requirements for patient adherence to dosage compliance present a major challenge. It was found that this group of users has an easier time keeping track of their medication scheduling if drugs are packaged in a calendar blister pack.

Sometimes referred to as Press-Through Package (PTP), calendar type blister packs resolve some of the above issues, but there are still potential problems with users who are older, frail, and suffer from multiple ailments. Patients who struggle with mobility in their fingers have difficulty opening blister packs to access vital medication. For example, there is nothing more frustrating than destroying the pill when trying to get it out of the blister pack.

Being an occasional user myself, I wish that blister packs were easier to open. Complicating the challenge are the many sizes and shapes of tablets packed in diverse styles of blister packs which require variable forces and techniques to extract the medicine. It simply doesn’t make sense when the same manufacturing batch requires highly variable forces to pop tablets out for consumption. Therefore, common sense tells pharmaceutical manufacturers to measure the required force to expel the medication from the blister pack and make sure that it falls within the patients strength capability.