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Magazine for Organic & Printed Electronics

T

he Centre for Process Innovation

(CPI), the UK’s technology innovation

provider for process manufacturing,

recently announced that it has begun the

first phase of its ‘Medicines Smart Packa-

ging’ project. This phase of the North East

Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) funded

project, known as SmartMed, will begin

the process of crystallising the needs for

innovation in the smart packaging of

medicines and medical devices leading to

the creation of an innovation capability.

The healthcare sector is in the midst of

change, driven by multiple factors including

longer life expectancies, a rise in chronic

disease and a shift in the pharmaceutical

industry towards advanced and personalised

therapies. There is also an increasing number

of people taking multiple medicines, putting

pressure on healthcare providers such as the

British NHS (National Health Service) to be

able to track exactly where drugs are going

and when patients are taking them. With the

British Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy

Hunt’s target for digital-led NHS treatment

by 2018, there is increasing expectation

on the sector to use technology, such as

smart packaging, to address these issues.

Using smart packaging would also benefit

organisations such as distribution companies,

who could track and monitor medicines

throughout the supply chain, as well as

pharmaceutical companies who could use

sensors to monitor environmental condi-

tions during storage and delivery including

temperature, humidity and damage, to

ensure that medicines are effective when

they reach the patient. Smart packaging

for medicines could feature printed sensors

that can also be used to help with patient

compliance. This is a major issue for health-

care, because patients that do not take their

medicines as prescribed not only risk their

health, but also contribute to significant

economic losses for healthcare providers.

Improving effectiveness

and experience

of treatments

“From manufacture to clinical sup-

ply to patients, digital technologies and

new types of material have the potential

to revolutionise the way in medicines

are packaged and therapies of all kinds

are delivered. Innovation in this area

can help to improve both the effective-

ness and experience of treatments for

patients,” says Richard Baker, Head of

Policy and Strategy at the North East LEP.

“The North East has established

strengths in technologies like printable

electronics, product formulation and digital

application which, if brought together,

could make a step change in medicines

delivery and also develop approaches of

value to other industries such as food and

consumer products. We’re delighted to be

working with CPI and other partners on this

project which will aim to ensure that the

North East takes a leading role in this area.”

The Medicines Manufacturing Industry

Partnership (MMIP), a partnership between

the UK government and industry, has

endorsed the creation of a national centre

of excellence in packaging for medicines.

This will support the development of the

next generation of packaging technology

and the associated smart devices required

for new and novel medicines, including

specialist packaging needed throughout

the manufacturing supply chain. The

proposed world-class centre of excellence

would allow medicine manufacturing and

medical technology companies to build

their niche capabilities and differentiate

themselves in the global marketplace,

securing activity and creating jobs.

Assessing the needs

for innovation

CPI will be hosting a series of work-

shops to speak to the pharmaceutical

industry, distribution companies, NHS,

pharmacies and patient groups to assess

their need for these innovations and the

proposed capability creation. “The project

will focus on defining and crystallising

the user requirements leading to a signifi-

cant and globally recognised innovation

capability in the North East, helping UK

companies to stay at the forefront,” says

Alex Cole, Centre for Process Innovation.

Smart medication will be a main focus of work at CPI

A revolution in

pharmaceutical packaging

New project to bring a world-class medicines ‘smart’ packaging capability to the UK