Medication blister packs offer an effective solution for packaging medications, combining convenience for end-users, and the assurance of product stability. They are getting more popular too; this fast-growing market is expected to reach $46.74 Billion in 2030.1 This is great news – but medication blister packs are susceptible to moisture damage, which can affect the integrity of your formulation. In this article, we examine the various methods of safeguarding medication blister packs against humidity, and explore the most appropriate options for your needs.
Foil Lid-Stock versus Foil Over-Wrap
Blister pack lidding, commonly referred to as Lid-Stock, is a thin layer of material utilised to cover a base tray. It offers a secure closure, while also acting as a barrier; shielding the contents from external elements. Conversely, an Over-Wrap is an additional layer of packaging material, added to the blister pack, that provides extra protection.
Medication Blister Packs… Foils for Regular Environments
For most applications (like ICH Zones 1-3), regular lid-stock material will effectively protect your product. This standard lid-stock is composed of aluminium foil that is coated with various heat seal lacquers. These foils are thin – and cost-effective. It will seal-to various blister pack base-trays, made from materials such as: Polypropylene (PP), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). Within the standard blister foil options available, there are two main varieties to choose from: Non-Peelable Foil (push-through) and Peelable Foil.
“Medication blister packs are susceptible to moisture damage, which can affect the integrity of your formulation”
1. Non-Peelable Lid-Stock Foil (Push Through)
‘PTP’ (Push Through Packaging), is a variation of lid-stock foil that features enhanced flexibility, due to its low thickness (18-20 µm). This material is composed of aluminium foil that is laminated to an inner heat seal film, rather than being coated with a heat seal lacquer. PTP is a popular choice among pharmaceutical manufacturers, as it gives each tablet its own sealed compartment, offering easy access to the end-user. They can press through each tablet from a separate cavity, without jeopardising the protection of the remaining tablets. When it comes to standard PTP lid-stock, the upper side of the foil can be left plain, or it can be coated (and printed) with a protective clear lacquer coating.
2. Peelable Lid-Stock Foil
The peelable variety of foil lid-stock is the format that is not strongly adhered to the plastic base tray. This means that you can easily peel it off from the base tray, for access to the item inside. Unlike push-through blister packaging (where each cavity is individually sealed), removing the lid from a peelable lid-stock pack provides complete and unrestricted access to all the contents inside.
Therefore, this lid-stock is mostly used for single items that are stored in a single blister cavity, underneath the foil top layer. These peelable foil blisters are often used to pack delicate medical supplies like; suture materials, stents, and surgical blades, where the rigid single-cavity undertray protects products that are easily snapped or broken.
It’s also worth noting that peelable lid-stock packaging offers a form of tamper-evident seal because the lid, once removed, cannot be replaced.
Medication Blister Packs… Foils for Extreme Environments
If you need foil packaging that can withstand even the harshest tropical conditions, the answer is: B-SURE™ Tropical Blister Packaging. Available in two options, BFP ENHANCED and BFP ULTIMATE, these formats are specially designed to safeguard pharmaceutical products in ICH Pharma Zone 4 environments.
The TBP-ENHANCED option secures your standard foil/PVC blister-packs within a flexible foil Over-Pack. However, once the foil Over-Pack is torn open, the pills inside only get the limited protection provided by the standard blister pack materials. Normally, TBP-ENHANCED offers an economical solution, with adequate protection. In essence, it’s good enough, in most cases. For extreme cases though (e.g. a very vulnerable formulation and a very harsh environment) you will need to use TBP-ULTIMATE.
For the best possible protection, TBP-ULTIMATE is your solution. These Cold Formed Foil packages are manufactured in compliance with GMP, in a Class R100,000 clean room. They’re made of a strong barrier foil under-tray, and a foil lid, providing the strongest defence against humidity, oxidation, and UV exposure. Unlike a simple foil Over-Wrap, the remaining compartments are fully defended, even after opening the other compartments.
Minimum Order Quantities and Printing
We can print over 10 different colours using Gravure, Flexographic, and Thermal methods – so no artwork is too complex for us to handle. We welcome clients of all sizes, so if you have two employees or two thousand – it matters not. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to help!
Let us Help You…
Our Barrier Foils Team has over 60 years of collective experience in foil laminates, so you can rely on us. Reach out to us on +44 (0) 1628 531 900 today, and let us assist you…
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What to Read Next…
1: S. Shukar, F. Zahoor, K. Hayat, A. Saeed, A. H. Gillani, S. Omer, S. Hu, Z.-U.-D. Babar, Y. Fang, and C. Yang, “Drug shortage: Causes, impact, and Mitigation Strategies,” Frontiers in pharmacology, 09-Jul-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8299364. [Accessed: 31-Mar-2023]
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