Global pharma packaging demand will rise at a 6.4% annual clip through 2017, says Freedonia Group


Medical device packaging slated for a 5.9% annual rise through that period

Two annual studies produced by Freedonia Group (Cleveland) put demand for packaging for life sciences product in the 6% range for this and the next four years, reaching $90 billion for pharmaceuticals and $25.7 billion for medical devices in 2017. Both those growth rates, however, come in under the growth rates experienced in the 2007-2012 period: pharmaceuticals, 7.0% and medical devices, 6.5%.

For pharmaceuticals—if one applies the 5-7% growth in global drug demand through 2016 predicted by IMS Health—packaging demand is roughly in synch with drug demand. However, it’s not clear that pharma packaging, and contract packaging services, align with market trends. While the US and Western Europe will remain the two largest unified markets for drugs, the fastest growth will occur in every other region of the world. It is likely that some reallocation of packaging resources will be sought both by drug manufacturers and by their contract service providers.

Freedonia Group’s analyst, Bill Martineau, says that prefillable syringes and parenteral vials will lead growth as new injectable therapies developed through biotechnology and related methods are introduced into the marketplace. Plastic bottles record the largest growth among primary pharmaceutical containers with bulk and dose packaging including solid-dose OTC medicines. Among ancillary pharma packaging supplies, top gainers include child-resistant, senior-friendly unit-dose packaging; adherence-enhanced prescription containers; authentication, high visibility and track-and-trace labels; and anti-counterfeit accessories.

For medical devices, pouches and trays will lead sales among container types due to their cost effectiveness in infection prevention and security, Martineau’s report says. Pouches have improved in strength, puncture resistance and barrier properties, opening more small- to medium-sized applications including sharps. Multi-compartment trays are on the rise as a means of virtually eliminating risk of staff errors and the spread of infectious agents during surgery preparation and patient procedures. Price and infection prevention are top drivers of innovations in multi-item surgical kits.

World Pharmaceutical Packaging, published in May, and World Medical Packaging, published in August, are available for purchase at

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