Meadwestvaco updates Shellpak with smaller profile

Better pharmacy stockroom efficiency, lower materials usage and patient convenience are benefits

The Shellpak, an award-winning compliance packaging design, has been in use for several years now, especially with a partnering program that puts generic drugs in the package for distribution at WalMart pharmacies. The design was first expanded with MWV Renew, a recyclable, tear-resistant paperboard; now it features a locking mechanism, called OptiLock, that enables the carton (which contains a blister card, usually with a 30-day, calendared allotment of pills) to be 23% smaller, while continuing the child-resistant features that enable the design to be used in compliance packaging.

An agreement is in place to package 11 types of generic drugs, manufactured by Mylan, to be assembled and delivered to WalMart pharmacies nationally from a subsidiary, International Labs (St. Petersburg, FL) that MWV acquired in 2008. (Other drugs, from other manufacturers and contract packagers, also employ Meadwestvaco compliance designs.)

“Besides the distribution efficiencies that the smaller package profile provides, patient convenience and discreetness are valued by consumers, notes Hung Le, global design VP at the Richmond, VA-based firm. “A patient doesn’t want to pull a package out of a purse or bag that says ‘Hey, look: I’m sick.’”

Dave Dwyer, a healthcare marketing VP at MWV, notes that between manufacturers’ desire for higher compliance, the CMS star ratings for healthcare providers (which makes better medication adherence a performance measure), and retail pharmacies’ desire to build relationships and loyalty with patients, all sectors of healthcare are now aligning around better adherence, and the value of compliance packaging in meeting that objective. “We’re getting involved with manufacturers now in Phase II and III of their development process, and they’re including package designs in their applications for final FDA approval,” he says.