07 December 2018

New Polpharma prescription drug packaging

Every day, pharmacists at every Polish pharmacy sell an average of 186 prescription drug packagings, which makes 4,000 units received by patients every month.[1] The design of Rx (prescription) drug packaging may have an impact on pharmacists’ work, but also on the risk of making an error while handing drugs out to patients at the pharmacy. The safety issue also concerns patients, who buy an average of 4 prescription drug packagings per month. Following up on interviews with pharmacists and patients, Polpharma is introducing new Rx drug packaging designs starting from September. The aim of the change is to minimize the risk of errors for pharmacists dispensing drugs to patients and to increase patient safety.

The new prescription drug packagings offered by Polpharma Group (including Polpharma, Medana and Polfa Warszawa) were created on the basis of interviews with patients and pharmacists and have been consulted with them every step of the way. The change also makes part of a strategic process of unification of the Polpharma Group brand, which the company launched to consolidate its portfolio worldwide.

“Preparation for the makeover and the harmonization of packaging design across 21 markets is a huge effort, but one which is worth making. It took 24 months to develop the new packaging and the process relied on the involvement of many specialists, packaging designers, researchers, pharmacists and patients. Besides image-related outcomes, including an emphasis on the membership of all of our branches in Polpharma Group and underscoring the uniform high quality of our medications, our overarching goal was to make the packaging more functional. The new packagings will make work easier for pharmacists and ensure better patient safety while using the drugs,” said Monika Jasłowska, Brands Management Director at Polpharma Group.

Research shows that most prescription drug packagings are very similar and therefore the pharmacist must exercise great caution while handing them out to patients. Pharmacists often work under time pressure, they are bombarded with questions by patients and face long queues of customers waiting to be served. This is why it is fairly easy to make a mistake while handling prescription drugs.

The main idea behind the new packaging design is to make it more functional. The design takes into account how the packagings are arranged on shelves and in drawers at the pharmacy, the specifics of pharmacists’ work, as well as the needs of elderly and visually-impaired patients.

Five features of the new packaging design which reduce the risk of drug dispensing errors at pharmaciesto a minimum and improve pharmacists’ work comfort:

  1. Dosage color-coding reduces the risk of errors.
  2. Drug name and dosage information written in large print makes it easier to differentiate between drug names and dosage information.
  3. Drug name and dosage information featured on three sides of the packaging – as the space in pharmacy drawers is limited, the information is now visible regardless of how the packagings are arranged (horizontally, vertically or flat on the shelf).
  4. A drug use table offers space for the pharmacist or patient to note down when a particular drug should be taken.
  5. Color-coding of particular therapeutic groups makes it easier to catalogue the drugs at the pharmacy.

For patient safety

  1. Color-coding and clear font used for drug name and dosage information makes things easier for the elderly and visually-impaired.
  2. A drug use table (on the back) offers space to write down when the drug should be taken, which improves patient compliance.
  3. Key information (name, dosage, content) visible on three sides of the packaging makes it easier to find the drug in the medicine drawer at home.

Why the change?

Polpharma, as a socially responsible company, offers a rich drug portfolio but also respects its sustainable commitments which help patients and pharmacists manage the health of Polish residents. The new graphic design was developed to make the packaging more functional and safer for pharmacists and patients. It also makes part of a process of unification of the entire Polpharma Group brand, which involves the company’s portfolio consolidation across its branches worldwide.

Positive reception

The new prescription drug packaging system offered by Polpharma has been praised by pharmacists as well-conceived, functional, clear and trustworthy. This December, Polpharma received an award for the Rx drug packaging rebranding project in the Launch/Rebranding of the Year category in the Marketing Directorof the Year 2018 competition. The Rx drug packaging rebranding project was also positively reviewed by the Polish Pharmaceutical Chamber and was welcomed by pharmacists themselves, who praised the well-conceived and functional design which will make their everyday work easier.

[1] Polpharma’s own calculations on the basis of data provided by IQVIA Pharmascope Poland, Units, MAT 09’18.

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