While advancing medical technology receives plenty of buzz (as well it should), medical packaging doesn't really make headlines. It's not quite as sexy to say you made a really cool box as it is to say that you made a device that's saving lives. But the packaging plays a huge role in the lifecycle of the product.
In our global economy, it's important for products to be accessible and attainable within emerging markets. This has implications on the design of the device because if it needs a charger, a battery, scopes, any additional components, it increases the price while reducing the portion of the population who can afford it. It affects the packaging in the same way. Multiple components require increasingly customized designs, trays, and protection.
An article on Healthcare Packaging discusses how manufacturers can address the needs of cost-effective medical packaging and device manufacturing. The design of the device is primarily what informs the package design. Both require a clear understanding of the users and how they will use the device. Does it need to be mobile? Then maybe a handle will be incorporated into the design, and foam. Does it need to be sterile? Then certain closures and materials are necessary. And that doesn't even touch on the complications in meeting international medical packaging standards.
Medical Packaging Needs for Emerging Markets
An emerging market economy is an economy with low-to-mid per capita income. Roughly 20% of countries fall under this category, and nearly 80% of the world's population resides in them. This illustrates the ethical importance of considering the medical packaging needs of emerging markets.
Considerations for emerging markets include:
- Variety of settings
Designing appropriately for different settings, and ensuring that the device and packaging can withstand optimal and less-than-optimal conditions
- Robust protection
Chances are this product will be on the move, so medical packaging that can withstand a little jostling while maintaining its integrity is necessary
- Versatile instructions
A product may be used by people with varying levels of knowledge and skill as well as speakers of different dialects
Worldwide, there is an increasing demand for better quality medical packaging in emerging markets. Reusable devices require robust packaging, particularly when sterility is of the utmost importance. Issues like these are why innovation in medical packaging needs to happen alongside medical device development.