High Barrier Containers Meet New Standards in Healthcare Packaging

Today, the chief purpose of primary packaging is product protection. However this performance capability has become more challenging in recent years as the complexity of active pharmaceuticals and their supply chain increases.

There are many choices when considering material selection, most of which are driven by product performance or product compatibility. The decision is difficult if the standard materials HDPE, PET, PP) are not capable of meeting the performance requirements. In addition to standard materials there are a variety of barrier options including coatings, additives, and multilayer configurations all of which come with a separate set of considerations including cost,product compatibility, and recyclability.

Amcor Rigid Plastics has a broad portfolio of barrier products ranging from additives and coatings to engineered resins offering both active and passive options. The company’s“Stability Solutions” is a suite of three products specifically designed to protect pharmaceuticals and extend their shelf life. These barrier alternatives offer protection from moisture, oxygen, and CO2.

Portfolio includes mono-layer and multilayer configurations All three barrier options are capable of being customized to a variety of bottle sizes and geometries and allow the customer to control the level of barrier resistance both optimizing and managing shelf life throughout a product’s life cycle. Amcor’s technical center in Manchester,Mich. is equipped with the analytical tools capable of measuring moisture ingress, oxygen loss, and CO2 loss

Stability DryTM Incorporates Desiccant
Amcor has developed patent pending technology incorporating desiccant in the product contact layer of bilayer co-extrusion blow molded containers. The outside layer is formed from high moisture barrier polyethylene or polypropylene to protect the desiccant from permeating moisture from the environment.The primary container creates and maintains a dry head space. It regains a dry head space even after exposure to high relative humidity (RH).The thickness of the desiccant layer and the outside layer can easily be tailored to optimize package performance. Stability Dry is covered under both Amcor and the desiccant supplier’s Drug Master File.

Maintains low relative humidity (RH) within sealed container

  • Product contact layer: Moisture Absorption from head space
  • CaO reacts with moisture forming calcium hydroxide [Ca(OH)2].
  • Ca(OH)2 is generally recognized as safe for direct food contact (CFR 21.184).
  • Theoretically 0.32g H2O + 1g CaO = Ca(OH)2
  • Ble nd 30% HDPE + 70% CaO Desiccant Concentrate
  • 3g CaO, 39 mils thickness: Total Mass = 14.6g
  • 4g CaO, 52 mils thickness: Total Mass = 20.8g
  • 5g CaO, 65 mils thickness: Total Mass = 25.4g

Additional Benefits

  • No filling line canister or sachet equipment
  • Eliminates cost and inventory of canisters

Minimize product contamination from dust or canister/sachet breakage

  • No consumer ingestion of canister or sachet

Stability UltraTM
New option has provided maximum barrier protection for a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer since 2013.. The package is designed to protect the product from oxygen degradation by sandwiching a layer of EVOH between two layers of HDPE or PP. The bottle is produced through a co-extrusion process via extrusion blow molding (EBM) shuttle technology which allows flexibility in the layer structure.

  • Three-layer construction:
    • HDPE + adhesive / EVOH / HDPE + adhesive
    • PP + adhesive / EVOH / PP + adhesive
  • Adhesive blended with structural layers
    Bonds structural layer with EVOH oxygen barrier layer
    Eliminates two specific adhesive layers
  • HDPE / EVOH / HDPE – Published patent application
  • PP / EVOH / PP patented
  • Conforms to FDA direct food contact for packaging dry products with no free fat or oil

Stability LiteTM
Monolayer solution is designed to light weight the container by 15-20% without sacrificing oxygen and moisture barrier as well as maintaining light protection. This material solution improves the container’s dimensional stability, allowing a reduction in gram weight or an extension of shelf life at the existing gram weight.

Stability Lite is designed for injection blow molding (IBM) and can be used with existing tooling thus eliminating the need for additional capital investment.

Key Highlights: :

  • 25-40% barrier improvement (MVTR and OTR)
  • Ability to light weight (15-20%)
  • Improved dimensional stability of critical variables
  • Permits use of existing tooling
  • Instead of light weighting, Stability Lite can be used to extend shelf life by 20-40%, providing a small extension when needed

Overview: Primary Benefits of Stability SolutionsTM

  • Extended shelf life and enhanced product protection
  • Total cost of ownership
  • Sustainability|
    Package weight is optimized (e.g. eliminates over packaging)
  • Safety
    Desiccant canister/sachets can open and leach into the drug product
    Canisters and sachets are prone to dust
    Sachets and canisters can be a swallowing hazard



Author: Greg Rosati

Author Img

Greg Rosati has 24 years of packaging experience including 15 in Healthcare. He has held various leadership roles in Product Development, Sales, Marketing and Quality Systems and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Michigan State University.

Company: Amcor Limited

Amcor Limited is a global leader in responsible packaging solutions, focusing on a broad range of flexible and rigid plastic packaging that enhances the products consumers use in everyday life, with 95 percent of its sales into the food, beverage, healthcare and tobacco industries. The company employs more than 31,000 people worldwide, operating in 40-plus countries and across more than 190 sites.

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