World demand for pharmaceutical packaging will continue to rise


To increase at an annual rate of 4.3% to reach US$22.2bn in 2007

World pharmaceutical packaging demand will increase at an annual rate of 4.3% (including price increases) to reach US$22.2bn in 2007, according to a new report from US-based industrial market research firm Freedonia Group.

The eight largest drug-producing countries - the US, Japan, China, Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Switzerland - will account for nearly 80% of demand. Among these countries, China will generate the fastest growth based on rapidly expanding pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities and the phasing-in of a government programme to upgrade the quality of nationally produced medicines.

The study, World Pharmaceutical Packaging, says that the US will remain the largest consumer of pharmaceutical packaging as its advanced drug-producing sector introduces new sophisticated preparations with specialised storage requirements.

Growth in demand among the top West European drug makers will reflect upgraded government standards requiring unit dose packaging, but pricing pressures on government-reimbursed medicines will result in below-average gains in demand in Japan.

Blister packaging will generate the highest world-wide growth among all pharmaceutical packaging products, with demand increasing by 6.6% annually to $4.9bn in 2007. Broad adaptability to unit dose, clinical trial, compliance, institutional, over-the-counter and sterile drugs will account for gains. Western Europe will provide an especially strong regional market for blister packaging as the majority of prescription drugs dispensed directly to patients in European Union countries must be provided in unit dose packs.

Plastic bottles will continue to account for a significant share of world pharmaceutical packaging demand based on cost advantages and versatility. Global demand for these containers will rise by 4.1% annually to $4.5bn in 2007. Growth will reflect sustained applications involving solid oral medication distributed in large quantities to institutional and retail pharmacies.

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Drug pouches and strip packs will generate average growth based on unit dose and high visibility applications. Demand for medication tubes will expand more slowly due to limited uses and competition from plastic dispensing bottles.