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Secondary contract packaging for pharmaceuticals: A guide to choosing the right partner

Gianni Linssen
Written by
Gianni Linssen
/ Published on
September 4, 2023
Secondary contract packaging

In the pharmaceutical industry, secondary contract packaging plays a pivotal role in ensuring that finished products are safely and effectively packaged into their final containers such as bottles, boxes, and blister packs. This critical aspect of the pharmaceutical supply chain ensures that products are not only properly packaged but also correctly labeled for safe and effective use by consumers.

The demand for secondary contract packaging in the pharmaceutical industry is increasing due to a number of factors, including:

Why choose secondary contract packaging?

There are many benefits to outsourcing secondary contract packaging to a specialized third-party provider. These benefits include:

  • Reduced costs: Outsourcing can help businesses to reduce their packaging costs in several ways. First, contract packaging providers can purchase packaging materials in bulk, which can help businesses save money. Second, contract packaging providers have the most up-to-date equipment and technology, which can help to improve efficiency and productivity. Third, contract packaging providers can often offer volume discounts, which can further reduce costs.
  • Improved efficiency: Contract packaging providers have the expertise, resources, and state-of-the-art equipment necessary to streamline the packaging process. This expertise results in increased efficiency and productivity, ultimately speeding up the time-to-market of the products.
  • Enhanced quality: Specialized contract packaging providers are equipped with the latest equipment and facilities, ensuring that products are packaged according to the highest quality standards. This is especially crucial in the pharmaceutical industry where regulatory compliance and safety are paramount.
  • Freed-up resources: By outsourcing secondary contract packaging, businesses can reallocate their resources to focus on their core competencies such as product development, branding, and marketing. This strategic move can lead to increased competitiveness and growth.
  • Increased flexibility: Contract packaging providers can offer a wide range of packaging services, which can give businesses the flexibility to meet the needs of their customers. For example, contract packaging providers can offer customized packaging solutions for specific products or markets.
  • Scalability: Contract packaging providers can scale their operations to meet the changing needs of businesses. This is important for businesses that are growing rapidly or that experience fluctuations in demand.


How to choose the right contract packaging partner?

Selecting the right contract packaging partner is crucial for the success of your pharmaceutical business. Here are some important factors to consider when making your selection:

  • Type of packaging services required: The first step is to carefully assess the specific packaging services that your business needs. These may include blister packaging, cartoning, labeling, and other specialized services. Make a comprehensive list of your requirements and ensure that the potential contract packaging provider can meet all of them.
  • Experience and expertise: It is essential to choose a contract packaging provider with a proven track record of success in the pharmaceutical industry. This includes not only experience in packaging but also expertise in regulatory compliance, quality standards, and other industry-specific requirements.
  • Quality standards: The pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated, and it is imperative that your contract packaging partner adheres to the highest quality standards. Ensure that the provider has the necessary certifications and compliances such as Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), ISO standards, and other relevant accreditations.
  • Cost-effectiveness: While cost is an important consideration, it should not be the only one. It is important to compare the costs of different providers, but also to assess the value for money that they offer. Consider the entire package of services offered, the quality of their work, and their reliability before making a decision.
  • Availability: Ensure that the contract packaging provider has the capacity and availability to meet your production needs. Discuss your production schedule in detail and make sure that the provider can accommodate your timelines.
  • Location: The location of the contract packaging provider can also be an important factor, especially if you need to comply with specific regulatory requirements in a particular country.

Secondary contract packaging is a crucial aspect of the pharmaceutical supply chain. By carefully selecting a contract packaging partner, businesses can ensure that their products are packaged to the highest quality standards, and their packaging needs are met efficiently and cost-effectively. It is important to consider the type of packaging services required, the experience and expertise of the provider, their quality standards, cost-effectiveness, availability, and location before deciding.

Additional considerations:

  • The provider's commitment to quality: Make sure that the contract packaging provider is committed to providing high-quality packaging services. This includes having the necessary certifications and accreditations, as well as a track record of meeting quality standards.
  • The provider's communication and transparency: Communication and transparency are essential for a successful partnership. Make sure that the contract packaging provider is willing to communicate with you openly and honestly about your packaging needs.
  • The provider's flexibility and adaptability: The pharmaceutical industry is constantly changing, so it is important to choose a contract packaging partner that is flexible and adaptable. The provider should be able to meet your changing needs and requirements as your business grows and evolves.
  • The provider's willingness to go the extra mile: A good contract packaging partner will be willing to go the extra mile to meet your needs. This includes being responsive to your requests, resolving any problems quickly and efficiently, and providing you with excellent customer service.

Tips for choosing an adequate contract packaging partner

By carefully considering all these factors, you can be sure to choose the right contract packaging partner for your pharmaceutical business.

Here are some additional tips for choosing a contract packaging partner:

  • Get references from other businesses that have used the contract packaging provider.
  • Visit the contract packaging provider's facility to see their operations firsthand.
  • Ask the contract packaging provider about their contingency plans in case of unexpected events.
  • Make sure that the contract packaging provider is willing to sign a contract that clearly defines the services to be provided, the quality standards to be met, the pricing, and the terms of payment.

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