Prototypes & Comps

Spotlight: Pharmaceutical Packaging

Posted: July 5, 2004 by
Ron Romanik

New technology from Europe may both increase the versatility of unit-dose packaging and bring costs down. Competition is driving production costs down by making the package itself adaptable and customizable to many applications. The new VersaPak prototype may replace the widely used blow, fill, and seal packages in many markets.

VersaPak packages are unit-dose plastic thermoform, fill, and seal containers made by Unicep Packaging in Idaho. The packaging process promises to be a cost-effective solution for packaging liquids, gels, lotions, creams, and semi-solids. With VersaPak, versatility is afforded within a complete choice of film types, hundreds of product applications, a wide range of design options, unlimited decorating choices, and dozens of unit sizes, all at a very modest cost. Typical applications include pharmaceuticals, veterinary, cosmetic and personal care, and chemical products.

Thermoform does have one or two cons. The new VersaPak is a little more rigid than the standard blow-form, fill-and-seal package, which could limit its use with large packages of semi-viscous products. But there are more pros too. Retail and sampling markets will be attracted by the cost savings that arise from the product's being self-contained. Because the package itself can accept printing, VersaPak eliminates the need for an extra paper or film label, or an extra outer box or plastic bag.

Steve Dilts, director of sales and marketing at Unicep, sees great potential for the expansion of the company's presence in the dental, medical, and cosmetic markets. "We dubbed it ‘VersaPak,' and we think it's an accurate name," Dilts maintains.

The VersaPak thermoforming process can also use a full range of single- and multi-layer high-barrier films. Film choices include but are not limited to PVC/PE, PVC/PVDC/PE, PET/PE, PS/PE, and PS/EVOH/PE. These offer a very high barrier for any oxygen- or moisture-sensitive products, and make VersaPak an excellent choice for pharmaceutical products and even food.

To ensure eye-catching sample or retail packaging, VersaPak containers offer total flexibility of package geometry and decorating options. VersaPak can be formed to duplicate full-sized signature products, and further designed to emphasize critical product features and unique brand identity. By using high-clarity films, up to six-color printing, and the choice of custom color films, decorative options are nearly unlimited.

Sizes range from 3 ml to 45 ml with any fill level available within that range. The packages have easy opening tear-offs for liquid, gel, or cream products, or peel-offs for products that solidify. VersaPak can also be shaped with a flat bottom, so the product can stand like a bottle.

Unicep Packaging Inc. is a privately held company founded in 1992 by Dr. John Snedden, a dentist. The company is well known for its microdose and twist-tip products. Beyond cosmetic and personal care packaging, Dilts sees even more pharmaceutical drug packaging of liquids, syrups, creams, gels, lotions, and veterinary products.