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Using packaging as a communication tool to bolster patient adherence

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MWV seems to be all over the place these days, as evidenced by their participation at two shows the same week, CPhI and Luxe Pack Monaco. Our COO Lars Hoffmann was on hand at the former and was able to speak to John Grinnel, MWV's VP and MD for Secondary and Adherence Packaging. The primary message that one can extract from the interview is quite simple: MWV is swiftly becoming a seminal part of the pharma packaging landscape due to one inescapable fact. In John's words:

What the package can uniquely do is talk to the patient every time they take the medication - there's nothing else that can do that.

MWV, then, is actively pursuing the goal of improving consumer adherence through the improvement of the packaging in which that medication is contained. Many innovative initiatives have originated at the firm, including a wide array of solutions to help patients remember to take their meds as well as glean valuable information should they run into an difficulties or uncertainties during their treatment.

MWV wants to "drive better adherence to medication regimes all the way through the pharmaceutical life cycle - from drug development (including phase 2 and 3 clinical trials) through helping manage that the patients who enrol in those trials stay on the medications accurately. We can in fact track that they're doing what they tell us they're doing, from the launch of a new product and looking at things like sample packs and titration packs to help the patient start on the regime. We know how critical those first 30 days of therapy are to the patient in establishing a routine, a ritual in taking that medication. If they do it well in those first 30 days they're very likely to continue that therapy with a much higher persistence rate. And finally, later in the life cycle in terms of getting the most value out of that product in ensuring that we know that the behavioural influence we have through calendarization, through the effective communication of dosing requirements and side effect profiles, etc. an effectively designed adherence package can improve adherence by 10% or more on a continuing basis with patients.

The goal, then, is to improve the packaging all the way from the initial testing phase of the drug so that it becomes a recognized, useful part of the project that accompanies the product throughout its release into the market, undergoing fine tuning and improvement along the way so that when it's in the hands of patients, it will offer the best experience possible as an adherence aid.

There are certainly cultural differences, and there's clearly a difference in the typical package being used, like the vial in the US and the blister pack in Europe, but ultimately, if you look at the data around adherence, it's a universal issue. There are huge issues with non-adherence really anywhere you go across the world. There are some cultures where people have felt that it's not an issue, but frankly, when you get to the data, they show that regardless of where you go, it's a problem.

Adherence as a pharmaceutical industry issue further seems to be a universal one. As an international firm, MWV has worked on numerous projects seeking to improve adherence to ensure patients take their medications, with several end goals, such as improving treatment results which in turn bolster confidence in drugs and by extension the producing company. One would think that this cycle of consumer confidence would be more prevalent in specific areas where medications are more easily accessible and therefore less values, but according to John, the issue is not confined to a specific geographic location, as adherence can be problematic for a variety of reasons.

So, exactly how is MWV addressing adherence? What specific solutions has the firm developed in order to bolster consumer adherence and ensure better treatment results for all concerned?

We continue to offer Shellpak, we're working with a broad range of clients to adapt that package to meet very specific needs, that's a huge part of our focus today. We continue to develop, particularly in the electronic reminder and measurement packaging arena, both to be able to support a broader array of needs in the clinical trial space as well as to look at where the future will take us in terms of commercial packaging that has an electronic focus.

In light of this, one thing seems abundantly clear: adherence is no longer an issue that companies are leaving solely up to the consumer, realizing that better treatment compliance numbers generally mean healthier, more satisfied consumers. MWV, then, is at the forefront of providing pharmaceutical firms with the tools they need to make issues with patient adherence as minute a problem as possible.

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  • Modified 02 Dec 2015
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