Why to Choose Inclusive Packaging in the Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Sectors

15 Jun 2021

Nowadays, companies opt for a user-centric business model, this means the operational and marketing efforts no longer focus only on the product, but rather on creating a genuine long-term relationship with their customers. Inclusive packaging is a part of this paradigm, since it is the element that speaks directly to the clients, and that gives them access to the product. Therefore, how are the patients going to understand the information? Will it be easy for them to access the product? These two questions are the starting point for inclusive packaging.

Why is accessible, or inclusive packaging important?

The design of inclusive packaging starts from the brands’ commitment to creating safe and simple experiences for every consumer, without hindrance regarding their age, language, cultural level or physical and cognitive abilities when it comes to using and enjoying the product.

During this process, businesses try to achieve packaging that is universally accessible, watching closely every aspect of its design: opening and closure systems, usage and ergonomics, graphic elements or support materials (leaflets or use instructions), among others. The international ISO 11156:2011 standard provides a framework for the manufacture of inclusive packaging, considering different features that cover the product’s entire life cycle.

How to achieve inclusive packaging in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic sectors

One of the main goals for manufacturers is to help the consumers follow their medical treatments or apply cosmetics correctly. How can packaging help in achieving this? There are several options:

1. Make access to information easier

Information is a cornerstone for the correct usage of pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. Inclusive packaging must consider senior patients and customers, taking into account those who might have visual impairments, and reinforcing instruction communication with measures such as:

  • High-quality printing and graphic design: the contrast between colours, the size and the precision of the typographies are essential features to help the patients identify the product correctly. Moreover, the design used in inclusive packaging also adds graphic icons that represent either the product or its features, which aims to reinforce communication with the customers.

  • PiggyBack®: this service increases the available space to print, because it potentially incorporates two or three leaflets folded on one another. Consequently, the text can be included in several languages, as well as having a larger font and spacing to structure the information better.

  • Braille labelling: this solution helps blind people identify the product, which gives them autonomy and security. Legal regulations mandate that laboratories brand medical folding cartons with the text in braille, but this is not compulsory in cosmetics packaging or drug store products, where there is still room for improvement.

  • QR code printing on cases, labels or leaflets: when they are scanned, the smartphone plays the most important information in an audio format. Additionally, the QR codes on the box or label can incorporate an embossed mark at the upper left corner, so that people with vision impairments will be able to find it easily and proceed to read its information with a smartphone. 


2. Contributing to a correct usage of the product

The packaging’s ergonomics and the layout of different products are also a way to make usage easier for every customer. Specifically in the pharmaceutical sector, packaging is hugely responsible in helping the patients follow the correct method to administer their treatment.

Because of this, solutions such as the Patient Adherence Pack have been particularly designed as a type of inclusive packaging, given that they promote the patient’s autonomy thanks to support materials such as infographic tools and more detailed instructions, and also thanks to formats that make dispensation easier, as are one-dose systems or different labelling for each day of the week.

3. Ensuring the safety and integrity of the product

On occasion, regulations on tamper evidence in the pharmaceutical sector have made it harder for people with mobility issues to access their medication, seeing that many laboratories opted for complex solutions (for instance, the glue on the flaps or the adhesion of transparent labels).

How to ensure there is no tampering with the drugs when designing inclusive packaging? There are interesting alternatives, such as:

  • Void labels: they are not hard to take off, but at the same time they deter non-authorised opening, because they leave a mark when the sticker is removed.

  • Structural design of the case’s flaps: at Essentra Packaging we have been working on solutions that combine easy opening with evidence of aperture.

Businesses embrace diversity through accessible packaging

To conclude, we can highlight four building blocks that support the design of inclusive packaging:

  1. Identify that not every consumer has the same capabilities.

  2. Design taking into consideration every person’s needs: how are they going to experience opening the product?

  3. Consider the regulations that might limit the designs, both at a graphic and at a structural level.

  4. Rely on the knowledge of experts in the field in order to find the best inclusive packaging solution for your folding cartons, labels or leaflets.

At Essentra Packaging we have already helped many pharmaceutical and cosmetics manufacturers adapt their packaging to make it more accessible to every customer. Do you want to know more? Contact us and our team will provide you with all the information you may need.