Packaging, a Key Element in Improving Animal Health
Bertrand Havrileck, Head of Corporate Pharma R&D, Virbac
Arnaud Steiner, R&D Packaging Manager, Virbac
Packaging for veterinary medicinal products has much in common with packaging for human medicinal products, particularly because they are under comparable regulatory requirements. However, packaging used in the veterinary pharmaceutical industry requires reflection and adaptations specific to the sector.
In animal health, our target is more complex since we must adapt to the end-users who will be administering the medicine as well as to the animal who will be receiving the medicinal products. Therefore, the same product will not be offered in the same size and the same container to farmers breeding herds of food-producing animals as it would be for people treating their companion animals.
In any case, regardless of the target; the products must always be effective, practical, and safe for both the end-users and the animals.
Packaging: A Clear Added Value
Since 2005 at Virbac, we have fully integrated packaging in the research and development programs of our new products. Packaging is at first designed to preserve what it is containing. Thus, it will protect the composition from elements that may affect its action, such as light, oxidation and water, or it may preserve certain key attributes, such as formula palatable agents, so important to treatment compliance in dogs and cats.
However, for Virbac, packaging is much more than just a container. It is planned and designed with three key dimensions in mind: content effectiveness, safe product use, and helps to the administration for better compliance.
Working on these three dimensions that look contradictory complicates the development of the packaging. At Virbac, we strive to make this complexity less noticeable to the user, drawing on very precise ergonomics, classification, and observing the customer experience during testing.
Packaging used in the veterinary pharmaceutical industry requires reflection and adaptations specific to the sector
Adding value to packaging is a natural response to Virbac’s values, which are committed to animal health and welfare. In fact, we have been recognized four times at the PharmaPack awards, particularly for the Smart Cap, a very advanced technical cap for dispensing liquid products. After five years of research and development, we found the optimal combination between the ergonomics and protection needed to ensure safe use by the end-users and their bystanders.
Packaging R&D Must be Adapted to Societal Changes
Packaging must meet regulatory requirements as well as new demands from various targets including those from the Society itself.
Using medicines, particularly in the area of animal health, must be simple, safe, and able to adapt to any need. Society is evolving and what we know about it is as well. This is why we consider as a must that environmental issues should be included in R&D programs. At Virbac, we are actively looking to offer eco-design packaging solutions with innovative processes that use recyclable biomaterials or eco-refills that reduce waste volume as well.
In our line of business, it is essential to keep an open mind and look to new technologies to meet future packaging challenges. 3D printing, for example, is nowadays a tool that is used to test and create innovations in a more rapid, eco-friendly and economical manner: reducing the time needed to create a prototype from several months to a few hours while significantly reducing waste generated during development.
To conclude, Virbac’s credo is to develop solutions that meet quality, safety and ergonomic criteria, to facilitate handling and convenience for the end-users, to adapt to the animal to be treated and to conditions in the field.
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