Vertex’ Orkambi medication package is Compliance Package of the Year

Pharmaceutical CommercePharmaceutical Commerce - May/June 2016

Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council (HCPC) award again goes to PCI Pharma Services

HCPC (Bon Air, VA) the trade association that promotes the use medication adherence through compliance packaging, has announced its annual Compliance Package of the Year and runners-up. The winner is Vertex Pharma and its contract packager, PCI Services (Philadelphia). PCI has been the award winner now for four years running. First runner-up was the Merck Januvia (sitagliptin) medication package, developed for Merck by WestRock (Norcross, GA).  The second runner-up is MannKind’s Afrezza (insulin for inhalation), also produced by PCI Services.

Orkambi (lumacaftor/ivacaftor) is a treatment for cystic fibrosis in patients with a certain genetic mutation. The medication is to be taken twice daily, and the packaging provides daily blister units, packed into a weekly organizer carton; four cartons are delivered with an outer monthly carton. Dosing instructions in written and graphical form occur on both the outer and inner cartons, along with a medication guide. A well thought-out feature is that the daily dosages are provided in a perforated blister pack (with “morning” and “evening” dosages clearly marked) so that, for instance, a patient can take the morning dosage, and then have the other half for use later in the day.

The Januvia package provides a 30-day regimen on a calendarized blister card, contained within the child-resistant packaging WestRock developed. The Afrezza kit includes small handheld inhalers, and powdered insulin in a variety of blister-carded dosage cartridges, which are inserted for use in the inhaler.

HCPC, celebrating its 25th year, promotes the use of unit-dose packaging as a way to improve medication adherence, to enhance drug branding and information delivery, and to provide better environmental control of (typically) oral solids; a study it released last year demonstrated that oral solids’ physical properties can degrade when delivered in 30-90-count amber vials or bottles. Award winners get to choose what schools of packaging engineering receive a scholarship fund managed by the association. This year, HCPC also sponsored a student competition, which was won by Kathryn Binsfeld, a sophomore at Michigan State University.

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