PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a popular material used in pharmaceutical packaging for several reasons:
Excellent barrier properties
PVC has excellent barrier properties against moisture and gases, which are crucial for maintaining the potency and shelf life of many pharmaceutical products.
Depending on its formulation and processing, PVC can be made flexible or rigid. This versatility makes it suitable for various packaging applications, from blister packs to bottles.
PVC's clarity allows patients and healthcare professionals to easily view the contents of the packaging, ensuring the right medication is being used and verifying the integrity of the contents.
PVC can be easily thermoformed, making it a preferred material for blister packaging. The process involves heating the PVC sheet and then molding it into the desired shape.
Compatibility with other materials
PVC can be easily laminated or coated with other materials to enhance its barrier properties or for other functional reasons. For instance, a layer of PVDC (polyvinylidene chloride) can be added to improve the barrier against moisture and gases.
PVC is relatively inexpensive compared to some other packaging materials, making it a cost-effective choice for pharmaceutical companies.
PVC is an inert, non-toxic material. When formulated for pharmaceutical applications, it does not interact with most medications, ensuring their safety and efficacy.
VinylPlus®, the European PVC industry's sustainability program, has launched the VinylPlus® PharmPack project. This initiative aims to enhance the recycling of PVC pharmaceutical blister packaging throughout its lifecycle, from film production to medicine packaging, and finally to the collection and recycling of used packaging. The project collaborates with other recycling projects in the healthcare sector, such as VinylPlus® Med, which focuses on recycling disposable PVC medical products in selected hospitals.
During the pharmaceutical blister production process, waste materials like lead frames and discarded empty packaging are collected and recycled. Both the PVC recyclate and the aluminum are reintroduced into the material cycle to produce new items. The VinylPlus® PharmPack project is expanding its scope to include post-consumer waste, ensuring that after the PVC pharmablister is used, the materials are recycled and returned to their respective cycles, contributing to the circular economy.
PVC has been used in pharmaceutical packaging for decades and has a well-established safety profile. It meets the regulatory requirements of many countries for drug packaging.
Ease of printing
PVC surfaces can be easily printed on, allowing for clear labeling, instructions, and branding.