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Demand for pharmaceutical packaging in the US (including Puerto Rico) will increase 5.5 percent annually to $18.4 billion in 2014. Recently upgraded regulations and standards that address such issues as barrier protection, infection control, patient drug compliance, drug dispensing errors, and drug diversion and counterfeiting will underlie growth. An increased focus on these issues will boost demand for high value-added containers and accessories, including enhanced barrier plastic bottles, calendar and wallet blister packaging, prefillable syringes and inhalers, track and trace and authentication labels, and unit dose pouches.
Demand for primary pharmaceutical containers will increase 5.3 percent annually through 2014. The fastest growth is anticipated for prefillable syringes and vials, which will expand applications as advances in biotechnology lead to new therapies that must be injected. In spite of below average growth, plastic bottles will remain the most widely used package for oral drugs distributed in bulk and prescription dose volumes to retail and mail order pharmacies. Plastic bottles will also continue to dominate applications in OTC medicines sold in tablet and capsule quantities over 50. Pharmaceutical blister packaging will sustain favorable growth based on its adaptability to unit dose formats with expanded label content, high visibility, and built-in track and trace features. The market for pharmaceutical pouches will expand at a fast pace, spurred by increasing applications in the unit dose packaging of transdermal patches, powders for reconstitution, and topical creams and ointments. Prefillable inhalers will command strong growth opportunities as the number of chronic asthma, allergy and migraine patients treated with inhalation drugs rises. Ongoing improvements in aesthetic and barrier properties will keep tubes a leading primary container for topical medication.
Among pharmaceutical packaging accessories, demand for closures will grow 5.5 percent annually through 2014. Vial stoppers, syringe tips and plastic flip top vial closures will register the fastest growth as injectable bioengineered drugs broaden emergency care and chronic disease indications. Twist and turn child-resistant caps will remain the top closures for oral and liquid drug containers, but will lose growth momentum as blister packs and pouches penetrate unit dose applications. Plastic dispensing closures will fare much better among drug makers based on ease of use and convenience in the delivery of liquid medicines and lotions. Due to marketing and security benefits, paperboard boxes will lead sales of secondary pharmaceutical containers. Demand for prescription vials will increase slowly as ethical medicines are adapted to prescription dose bottles and blister packs for direct dispensing.