Packaging of materials is an integral part of any pharmaceutical industry. Packaging affects the quality stability and identification of drug product. Packaging provide an adequate degree of protection, minimize the loss of constituents and should not interact physically or chemically with the contents in a way that will alter their quality to an extent beyond the limits given in the individual monograph, or present a risk of toxicity. Pharmaceutical packaging is the means of providing protection, presentation, identification, information and convenience to encourage compliance with a course of therapy. The commonly used packaging materials are Container, Closure, Carton or Outer and Box. The containers may be made of glass, plastic, matel or paper. The material for closure may include Cork, Glass, Plastic, Metal or rubber. There are various tests for determination of quality, integrity and compatibility of packaging materials. The specification and requirement of quality testing depends on type of pharmaceutical materials used. Containers are tested by many methods of which commonly used test for glass are Crushed glass test, Whole-Container test, Chemical resistance of test, Water Attack Test etc. Similarly test. Closure materials are tested by Transparency test Penetrability Fragmentation test Self seal ability test, Extractive test etc. The requirement of packaging material testing is set according to specification of regulatory agencies like WHO GMP, USFDA and ICH guidelines.
Packaging is a process by which the pharmaceuticals are suitably packed so that they should retain their therapeutic effectiveness from the time of packaging till they are consumed. Packaging may be defined as the art and science which involves preparing the articles for transport, storage display and use. Pharmaceutical packaging is the means of providing protection, presentation, identification, information and convenience to encourage compliance with a course of therapy.
Composition of package:Container, Closure, Carton or Outer Box.
Tests applied to packaging materials may be:
a. Chemical - The pH value of materials chloride and sulphate in paper or board, alkalinity of glass, compatibility test with chemicals or medicaments are typical of the chemical tests.
b. Mechanical-Standard tests are available for the effect of creasing, folding and so on.
c. Environmental-Materials may be tested by standard methods for absorption of water, permeability to water vapour, gases, oils, odours etc. and for characteristics such as light transmission.
Mechanical – Mechanical tests are applied mainly to outer packaging for protection from transportation hazards. They consist of the use of a standardized test procedure to compare the effect of different protective materials to prevent damage to the contents.
b. Environmental- Packages are subjected to conditions that reproduce the environment and some evaluation is made at suitable intervals. Such procedures may be applied to testing closures for water vapour transmission.
Principal instrumental techniques employed for packaging controls include: Spectrophotometry, Chromatographic Methods, Thermal analysis techniques, Gas transmission analysis, Leak detection, Physical test methods, X-ray Fluorescence Analysis.
Quality control of containers
A container for a pharmacopoeial article is intended to contain a drug substance or drug product with which it is, or may be in direct contact. The closure is a part of the container.
Containers must be chosen with care and after taking into consideration the nature of the articles and the likely effects of transportation and storage, even for short periods of time.
A container should be designed so that the contents may be removed in a manner suitable for the intended use of the article in it. It should also provide an adequate degree of protection, minimize the loss of constituents and should not interact physically or chemically with the contents in a way that will alter their quality to an extent beyond the limits given in the individual monograph, or present a risk of toxicity.
Airtight containerA container that is impermeable to solids, liquids and gases under ordinary conditions of handling, storage and transport. If the container is intended to be opened on more than once, it must be so designed that it remains airtight after re-closure.
Hermetically Sealed container. A container that is impervious to air or any other gas under normal conditions of handling, shipment, storage and distribution, e.g. sealed glass ampoule, gas cylinder etc.
Light-resistant container. A container that protects the contents from the effects of actinic light by virtue of the specific properties of the material of which it is made.
Multidose containerA container that holds a quantity of the preparation suitable for two or more doses.
Sealed container. A container closed by fusion of the material of the container.
Single-dose container. A container that holds a quantity of the preparation intended for total or partial use as a single administration.
Tamper-evident container. A container fitted with a device or mechanism that reveals irreversibly whether the container has been opened.
Tightly-closed container A tightly-closed container protects the contents from contamination by extraneous liquids, solids or vapours, from loss or deterioration of the article from effervescence, deliquescence or evaporation under normal conditions of handling, shipment, storage and distribution. A tightly-closed container must be capable of being tightly re- closed after use.
Well-closed container A well-closed container protects the contents from extraneous solids and liquids and from loss of the article under normal conditions of handling, shipment, storage and distribution.