Pouches can change everyday life – and not just for the sick!
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Individual medication packaging is very versatile and offer many benefits
Personalized pouch packaging is generally associated with (chronically) ill or elderly patients. In fact, with residents often requiring several medications, many homes for the elderly and care facilities already use pouches for individual patients. They make it much easier for the nursing staff to manage the medication regime and at the same time, reduce the medication errors which can easily occur with a manual system. The bags are produced and supplied by specialist centres or pharmacies using dedicated pouch packaging machines. In the Netherlands, around 2% of the population are already obtain pouches this way, with health insurance companies covering the costs if necessary.
Unit dose for hospitals
Pouches are also increasingly utilised in hospitals as the benefits are very similar to those in long-term care facilities. According to figures from the ADKA, in Germany unit dose supply has been continuously growing since 2005. The focus here is on the closed medication cycle: “Only unit dose is able to complete the cycle: from prescription on the ward; through pharmacist validation; automated packaging in the pharmacy [Link] with patient-specific labelling; and finally back to the wards for administration and with documentation – a closed-loop medication process, ”says the ADKA *.
Pouches from the pharmacy
But what about the patients at home? Here too, there are already pouches supplied via the local pharmacy. Again, the bags are produced in specialist centres and then handed to the customer via the pharmacy (there may be regional variations depending on local legalities). For the patient, this is much more convenient and safer than conventional ways of taking medication and the segment is gathering particular momentum in both the UK and the USA. “We are at the forefront of an exciting sector that expects double-digit growth in the near future,” said Paul Mayberry, founder of NHS pharmacy service PillTime in the UK.
From medication to lifestyle products
Individual packaging also offers a number of advantages for healthy people. The USA is once again leading the way by offering food supplements and vitamins for professional athletes and other health conscious groups. This is less about safety and more about convenience: personalised supplements are individually packaged for each time of consumption, can be easily taken on the go and become a lifestyle product in a beautifully designed bag. The target groups are diverse and include people looking to strengthen the immune system, help stay active with nutritional supplements, address insomnia or support pregnancy. All the markets for pouch packaging have one thing in common: convenient, safer administration which increases quality of life.
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