A study undertaken by the U.S. Flexible Packaging Association indicated that worldwide demand for primary pharmaceutical packaging increased 4.2%to US$11.2 bln in 2003. Pharmaceutical packaging applications are expected to become the second largest driver for the development of the flexible packaging sector in the next five years. Within this context, China's pharmaceutical packaging producers are advised to promote the application of certain materials including high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyethylene naphthalate (PEN), and to produce hollow plastic containers using injection and blow molding processes. In addition, aluminum foil gasket seals with electromagnetic induction functionality should be used for hollow containers to ensure enhanced security. China's pharmaceutical packaging firms are also encouraged to set up independent research and development teams to explore innovative, environmentally friendly, safe, functional and sustainable packaging materials and products.
China's pharmaceutical packaging currently accounts for less than 10% of the value of drugs and medicines, compared with approximately 30% in more developed economies. As per Shanghai Institute of Pharmaceutical Packaging and Testing, China is currently lagging far behind developed countries in terms of the quality of pharmaceutical packaging products, mainly due to the poor manufacturing technologies and processes and the inferior pharmaceutical packaging materials. In addition doctor's prescriptions are filled on the spot at a service counter in the hospital, making pharmaceutical packaging producers unwilling to invest considerable resources to improve their products.
The Chinese government's policies to accelerate the transformation of the country's medical regime are expected to promote the development of the pharmaceutical packaging sector. Also, as China actively upgrades its pharmaceutical packaging facilities and materials, and diversifies its pharmaceutical products, new opportunities will open out for pharmaceutical packaging firms, leading to robust growth. The robust growth of the Chinese pharmaceutical sector is creating significant business opportunities for the country's pharmaceutical packaging companies. It is now becoming critical for Chinese companies to look for packaging concepts that meet the emerging needs in the pharmaceutical packaging market today.
In recent years in China, packs for solid drugs, including capsules and medicines for topical application have experienced strong growth momentum. Compound flexible bags and plastic bot tles are being increasingly used in large infusion applications.