Packaging Design Within the Healthcare Industry

There is a crucial job and role out there and that’s packaging design within the healthcare industry. It’s especially important within the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors because patients and consumers need their medication. Take time to discover more about packaging design with the healthcare industry and why it’s a topic worth dissecting and learning more about.
Developing a successful product should never end with the product itself. Manufacturers in the healthcare industry must always take into consideration healthcare packaging and the complete offering. This includes packaging, delivery, and after-care, and if done correctly it will provide patients with a holistic solution that will positively impact everyone involved.

Packaging Design

You may not understand the magnitude and relevance packaging design has within the healthcare industry but it’s one worth taking a deeper dive into. Packaging design within the healthcare industry matters because it plays a significant role in patient adherence. The WHO defines this as “the extent to which a person’s behaviour – taking medication, following a diet and/or executing lifestyle changes – corresponds with agreed recommendations from a healthcare provider.”

Did you know that patient adherence is currently one of the biggest issues the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries are facing? It’s too bad because patients need these medicines to heal and get better. Not only that but it’s a costly one too. Patients who do not take their medicines properly are a problem that’s costing the NHS over £500 million a year. One solution to this dilemma may be to develop more innovative packaging solutions.
By identifying that packaging plays an essential role in a product’s journey (from containment, protection and communication, to security and transportation), experts have been able to identify areas where manufacturers can add features that will increase patient adherence. Exploring these ideas further will help you see and understand exactly why packaging design matters so much and what can be done to help increase patient adherence.

Containment & Accessibility

Basically, packaging can be defined as a means of containing and delivering a product to a user. When pharmaceutical packaging is completed successfully, it should allow the patient or healthcare professional to effortlessly access and repack medicines. All while ensuring that the product and related information remain together. What this does is give a patient the confidence that they have the materials they need to support proper use of it. It should stand true even over extended periods.

Communication & Information

Patients need to know how to take their medications and packaging plays a crucial role in this type of communication process. This information is required for patients to understand the details of their medication. The goal is to avoid creating any frustration or confusion on the consumer’s part. The wording and verbiage must be clear and make it easy for the patient to know what to do. It must also be detailed literature that caters to multiple audiences. One factor to consider is that the instructions are available in multiple languages. The font itself should be bold, clear, and easy to read.

Images also play an important role in the communication process. Packaging design within the healthcare industry must promote a mutual understanding and include information that’s easy to digest. The packaging may include graphs or infographics, for example. Images and Braille are a few ways to ensure those who are illiterate or blind can take their medications properly.

Sometimes the carton or bottle of the prescription is small and it’s hard to fit all the required information on it. Therefore, manufacturers can implement and include additional features such as offering booklet labels or leaflets. This supplementary material will help the patient or customer get the information they need to take their medications correctly.

Protection & Transportation

The entire product cycle includes the protection and transportation aspects. Packaging allows the medication to make its way to others in the supply chain efficiently and safely. Shape and structure may seem like simple elements but they’re quite important when it comes to shipping and stacking large quantities of medications or products. With the advancements in technology, smart packaging or digital product information with QR codes may also be included. As for vials and other fragile medical instruments, the packaging may require crumple zones. This carton board is designed to be shaped around the contents’ form so products can withstand impact and don’t shift and move around. It’s a vital component in protecting delicate medication in transit.

What pharmaceutical and healthcare companies need to understand is that protection is necessary throughout the entire product cycle. Eventually, the product is going to be in the hands of the consumer or patient and they’ll need to be able to safely store the medication in their home. It’s especially important for some medications to be stored at the right temperature, for example. In this case, manufacturers can use thermochromic inks. They are activated by high or low temperatures and can monitor storage conditions that may impact drug efficacy.


Each one of these elements and packaging developments plays a critical role in packaging design within the healthcare industry. You can’t have one without the other if you want to be successful in your packaging design and increase the chances that the consumer will take their medications as prescribed. Even the most basic aspects, which are containment and accessibility, impact the outcome. By taking into account all of these elements, companies can add value and increase patient adherence by using intelligent and targeted design practices. Now is the time to share the importance of this messaging and to get pharmaceutical and healthcare companies and manufacturers on board.
While it’s okay to stay hopeful, it’s not to say that these design tools will completely solve the problem of low patient adherence. However, the effectiveness and difference these practices can make in the industry should not be taken lightly or disregarded. Secondary packaging components make a positive impact too. These are materials that are already delivered as a part of the product offering. Amending these makes a noticeable difference in adherence and also shouldn’t be overlooked or underestimated.