Global Pharmaceutical Packaging Materials Report 2021 -

The "Global Pharmaceutical Packaging Materials Growth Opportunities" report has been added to's offering.

Packaging plays a pivotal role in the pharmaceutical industry in protecting and maintaining drug stability during storage, transportation, and usage.

While pharmaceutical packaging materials are mainly segregated into primary, secondary, and tertiary levels, primary packaging is of utmost significance, as it comes in direct contact of the drug. In this regard, the pharmaceutical industry has been witnessing increasing demand for effective primary packaging materials based on polymer, glass, aluminum, rubber, and paper (such as bottles, blister and strip packs, ampoules and vials, prefilled syringes, cartridges, tubes, canisters, caps and closures, and sachets) that can prevent drug contamination and increase patient compliance.

Both by value and volume, plastic packaging materials accounted for the largest share in the global pharmaceutical packaging materials market in 2020 and are expected to retain their dominance during the forecast period. This is largely due to increasing consumption of commodity thermoplastics such as Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Polyolefins (PO), and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) for cost-effective packaging of various Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Plastic packages are extremely lightweight, cost effective, inert, flexible, resistance to breakage, and offer easier handling, storage and transportation of drugs compared to conventional packaging materials.

Moreover, plastics can be easily molded into varied shapes and also offer a wide range of attractive packaging options for simpler identification of drugs. Increasing demand for OTC drugs is one of the main driving factors for plastic-based pharma packaging materials worldwide. Additionally, 3D printing technology is anticipated to gradually revolutionize the pharmaceutical plastic packaging sector in the future in terms of rapid prototyping, high flexibility of design, and reduced development time frame.

Despite growing competition from plastic counterparts, glass-based packaging products have mostly remained the traditional material of choice for storing and dispensing highly reactive drugs and complex biologics, owing to their outstanding barrier properties and capability to withstand severe acidity and alkalinity. Moreover, glass offers excellent impermeability, inertness, sterility, clarity, high temperature stability, and UV-resistance and is largely used for manufacturing value-added vials, ampoules, prefilled syringes, and amber-colored bottles.

Moreover, the market for pharmaceutical glass packaging materials experienced huge demand in 2020, particularly for glass vials that are being increasingly used for storage and dispensation of COVID-19 vaccines globally. With increasing government efforts worldwide on vaccinating people against the deadly coronavirus, these glass vials are further expected to significantly drive the overall glass packaging materials market in the next 1-to-2 years.

Other materials such as aluminum blister packs and tubes and paper strip packs are also undergoing intense competition from plastic alternatives, but aluminum products are likely to continue experiencing strong growth for packaging of sensitive drugs that require significant amount of moisture and oxygen barrier for a prolonged period. Rubber closures, on the other hand, are widely used for effective sealing of various pharmaceutical plastic and glass containers.

Developing countries, especially those in Asia-Pacific, MEASA, and Latin America, are undergoing rapid economic development and urbanization. In the last few years, these countries have been witnessing a significant increase in the incidence of lifestyle diseases that has led to a growth in healthcare spending.

These economies have also emerged as prominent low-cost drug manufacturing hubs, particularly for various OTC formulations, such as digestives, paracetamol, analgesics, contraceptives, vitamins, iron supplements, antacids, and cough syrups. These factors, in turn, have spurred the demand for cost-effective, lightweight, and flexible plastic packaging products for affordable and effective packaging of OTC drugs in countries, including China, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and Mexico.

With increasing demand for advanced drug delivery modes, pharmaceutical companies in Americas and Europe are highly focused on developing price-premium complex biologics and other highly reactive injectable drugs, such as oncology drugs, hormonal medications, vaccines, proteins, monoclonal antibodies, and cellular and gene therapy drugs that provide better treatment efficacy compared to oral drugs.

These sensitive parenteral formulations often require value-added glass and plastic packaging materials that offer excellent barrier properties, transparency, durability, and drug stability during storage, transportation, and usage. Moreover, efforts to reduce the carbon footprint and waste accumulation are expected to gain momentum in developed economies during the next decade.

The trend is anticipated to result in an increased focus on end-of-life analysis, circular economy, and lifecycle assessment - the cradle-to-grave concept - that would influence design, production, use, disposal, and recycling of pharmaceutical plastic packaging products in these regions.

The pharmaceutical plastic, aluminum and rubber packaging materials markets are highly fragmented and comprise several large-, medium-, and small-scale companies, while the market for glass- and rubber-based pharma packaging materials markets are highly consolidated with strong presence of large- and medium-scale companies.

Pharmaceutical packaging material manufacturers are likely to emphasis more on strengthening long-term relationships with raw material suppliers, distributors, and pharma companies to control their positioning over the supply chain. Furthermore, there is a scope for mergers and acquisitions coupled with vertical integration activities among companies, to increase their product offerings and stay ahead of the competition.

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