Pharmapack Report 2021: US leads on drug device innovation but trails Europe on sustainability

Ahead of the first Pharmapack Europe to be held in nearly 18-months, Informa has released the results of its global drug delivery and packaging survey, with the USA once again leading ‘drug delivery and device innovation’, but lagging behind all major European nations on sustainability.

Pharmapack Europe, which will be held at Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles, 13-14 October (2021), is expected to welcome up to 5000 people and 360 exhibiting companies. To enable access for those unable to attend in person, the event is being hosted in hybrid format, with online content and networking running from 27th September until 22nd October.

“We are incredibly eager to welcome back the pharma packaging, drug delivery and devices community after a year in which pharma’s innovation has never been more prescient. Yet, our research also shows the pandemic has accelerated a number of important existing trends in terms of connected devices, sustainable supply chains and remote patient administration. What’s exciting is that that with Pharmapack returning, we can provide the vital connections the industry relies upon to drive forward innovations and supply chains in 2022 and beyond.” Sherma Ellis-Daal, Brand Manager for Pharmapack Europe.

In fact, the Pharmapack Innovation Index (scored out of 10) – a market perception measure of each country’s drug delivery and device innovation – shows that globally the industry increased its outlook with a near 2% overall rise since 2020. Significantly, while the USA (8.26) again tops the rankings – followed by Germany (7.69) and Japan (7.52) – India (6.62) was by far the biggest mover, gaining nearly 13% on its score from 2020. This is particularly impressive improvement as it follows on India’s 25% gain from its score in 2019.

Andy Fry, Founder, Team Consulting provided some context to the rapid improvements, adding: “There has indeed been a lot of activity and interest from Indian and Chinese organisations focused on developing lookalike models of existing European or US devices, including DPIs and soft mist inhalers. Such developments could well morph into completely new devices.”

One of the key drivers for Pharmapack as an organisation, throughout its agenda, is to help the industry focus its attention on improving its CO2 impact and becoming more sustainable in its materials use and recycling. This year, Pharmapack launched its inaugural Sustainability Index (scored out of 10) – a measure of how far long each country is towards achieving optimal sustainability for devices and packaging – with European nations Sweden (6.87), Germany (6.74), Switzerland (6.78), France (6.09) and the UK (6.04) perceived to leading the industry on sustainability initiatives. Crucially, leading European market were well ahead of the United States (5.78), China (4.22) and India (3.30) – the latter two of which were scored particularly poorly by the industry executives surveyed.

One challenge that has been highlighted by experts recently is the dichotomy of the drive towards sustainability and the increased use of connected devices – which often prioritizes materials and patient adherence over utilizing greener material. However, encouragingly, our industry executives surveyed (65%) believe such tension will be short lived and that, in the medium term ‘a shift towards better recycling and improved product lifespan’ will help integrate sustainability goals without compromising smart device adoption over the next three years.

The Pharmapack agenda reflects these concerns and will explore ‘patient-centred devices design’, ‘practical measure to improve sustainability’, ‘the impact of biosimilars on autoinjector development’ as well as the usual cutting-edge innovations in the Learning Labs and the Innovation Gallery. But 2021 is also a reimagining of the entire Pharmapack experience, with content and learning available in advance. For example, networking and targeting of contacts can take place in the two weeks before you arrive to pre-qualify leads. So, I encourage everyone to take maximum advantage of the resources available, as we are at an incredibly important moment for industry innovation,” added Ellis-Daal

Similarly, in the heart of the show floor will be the 2021 Start-up Hub, providing a space to learn about companies developing and expanding new technologies in packaging, labelling, drug delivery, device design and engineering. These innovative companies will present early-stage products and pitch them to a panel of experts in order to gain more exposure and network.


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