7 reasons why it’s time to make medicines easier to take

HERMES PHARMA will be on stand 6D31 at CPhI

Many pharmaceutical companies turn (almost automatically) to tablets as their dosage form of choice. However, there are a number of other options available that may be better suited to patients and consumers and which could also provide additional benefits to those working in the pharmaceutical industry. HERMES PHARMA, the expert in user-friendly oral dosage forms, will be on stand 6D31 at CPhI discussing the importance of putting patients first and why making dosage forms user-friendly plays a vital role in successful pharmaceutical development.

Put simply, tablets might not be the best dosage form for your next product. Here are seven key reasons why:

Many people can’t swallow tablets

While tablets are the ‘go-to’ option for many pharmaceutical companies, a recent independent survey of 2,000 participants demonstrated that more than half had experienced difficulties swallowing tablets, with around a third describing the issue as serious (www.swallowingtablets.com). In response, many have turned to coping strategies such as crushing or splitting tablets – or simply not taking the tablets at all – all of which effect compliance and medicinal effectiveness.

People want choice and convenience

As a society, we have become accustomed to being offered convenience and choice in all areas of our lives – and this expectation is increasingly being extended to healthcare. We find that many people are dissatisfied with the conventional tablets and capsules made available to them by the pharmaceutical industry. Instead, they would prefer products that are easier and more pleasant to take, offer greater choice and that fit easily into their busy, daily lives.

People want their needs to be recognised and taken care of

While tablets and capsules aren’t without merit, there are other dosage forms available to the Pharma industry that are more user-friendly and put the consumer first. These dosage forms are designed to be simple to administer and easy to swallow. Examples include effervescent and chewable tablets, lozenges, instant drinks and orally disintegrating granules.

Those dosages forms that require the addition of water offer an extra rehydration benefit, while those not requiring water are ideal for use ‘on the go’ or for patients who need to minimise their liquid intake.

People want products that have a pleasant taste

As user-friendly dosage forms spend more time in the mouth than conventional tablets, they are tasted more thoroughly. That is why it’s important that user-friendly dosage forms taste good.

They can be formulated in a range of flavours, which together with effective flavouring or taste masking, ensures they have a pleasant taste and smell. There are various technologies that enable this, although most require at least some dedicated expertise working with user-friendly dosage forms and specific manufacturing equipment.

There is untapped market potential up for grabs

There is clearly an existing audience for user-friendly dosage forms and companies taking advantage of this will benefit from the opportunity to differentiate their products in the marketplace. They may also be able to open up new market segments for their existing products by optimising them for the elderly, children, sportspeople or even busy professionals.

There are unexplored opportunities to build brand loyalty

By developing products in a range of formats/flavours, pharmaceutical companies have the opportunity to build brand loyalty. This is particularly true in the over the counter (OTC) marketplace, where consumers vote with their wallets and where they are likely to stick with brands they know, trust and like. User-friendly dosage forms also offer pharmaceutical companies with an effective way of revitalising ageing brands through line extensions and reformulations. Lastly, it makes sense that medicines that overcome the challenges of solid tablets and better meet the needs of modern patients are likely to gain more traction in the market.

This expertise can be accessed by working in partnership

Not sure where to start with user-friendly dosage forms? The fastest way to start making easy-to-take pharmaceuticals is to work together with an external supplier such as HERMES PHARMA, which has the track record and technical expertise to help you to rapidly and effectively bring your API to market – in a form people will want to take (rather than feel like they have to take).

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Hermes Pharma (more information, website)