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Packaging designs for sterile/aseptic and anti-viral medications to take centrestage following COVID-19 crisis: Amit Ray

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Packaging companies recognize the need to immediately respond to needs of its customers in pharmaceutical industry. New designs and formats are expected to be formed for packaging of healthcare products, Amit Ray, executive director, UFlex opined.

This will lead to a rise in flexible packaging types and related substrates, including flexible blister foils. As people will be more conscious about safety and hygiene, pharma packaging companies will need to focus on sterile/aseptic packaging and anti-viral packaging and the industry would need to consider new barrier coated products in flexible packaging, he added.

Since pharma sector and its packaging is construed as essential services, the industries continued to ply despite the lockdown announcement. There has been an increased demand for medicines and healthcare products, during the COVID-19 lockdown. Getting the existing manpower and transportation for smooth supply chain operations has been a challenge but this has improved with government support, Ray told Pharmabiz in an email.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive disruptions to the pharma industry and healthcare system.  There is considerable diversification in business to meet the requirements that could help combat the virus disease. For instance, we have seen a spike in demand for certain critical products like personal protective equipment (PPE), face masks, disposable gloves, diagnostic tests, medical ventilators, etc. Overall, demand is likely to rise for dietary supplements such as vitamins that consumers will need in a post COVID-19 era for general well-being. This is where UFlex, which is among the  leaders in pharma packaging solutions, jointly developed a PPE Kit with IIT Delhi which is DRDO approved, to be supplied to healthcare workers. The company has also started packaging of hand sanitizers in FlexiTubes for personal use, he noted. 

The crisis is unprecedented as it created a huge commotion across global economy forcing nations to go under lockdown. In India also, the lockdown was implemented suddenly but since packaging is an essential service that is indispensable to pharmaceutical requirements, we were able to obtain necessary permissions to run our operations. This helped us to continue our production process by following all needed preventive measures.

One of the major challenges so far has been on-time transportation and logistical issues that is disturbing the continuity of supply chain, leading to shortage of raw materials for us and dispatching of packaging material to pharma companies. Of course, the shortage of manpower has only added to the woes impacting our production levels. Many of our customers in pharma business are also facing issues of transportation, distribution and lack of manpower due to lockdown and they are able to run their plants only partially. This has impacted their businesses and in turn has impacted the packaging industry as well.

Management of workforce as manufacturing resumes is a different game altogether. Being in the business of packaging for pharmaceutical products, we have been keeping our plant running with minimal staff, as mandated by the government. Since corona virus is not going to be a short story, even after the lockdown is lifted, we need to continue prioritizing health, safety and hygiene measures of the workforce.  Manpower crunch would be a challenge. We will need to adapt to the new order of work culture, said Ray.


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Invictus enterprises Jul 19, 2020 10:50 AM
We need ppe kit to be packed in sterile bags..in Thane, Maharashtr.. or some supplier for sterile bags .. thanks
Size..320 mm x 280 mm
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