Blister Packaging is a plastic packaging used for pharmaceuticals, small appliances and consumer goods. Their function is to protect the packaged material from air, moisture and contamination from external sources. Blister packaging’s advantages over alternatives include cost-effectiveness, enhanced durability, tamperproof, improved shelf life and lower risk of contamination. It is a hard material and protects from mechanical damage as well. Blister Packaging is versatile and can be designed to suit specific needs. For example, child-proof seals, individual pouches and calendar packs can be designed.
Pharmaceuticals is the largest end-use industry in the blister packaging market. Tablets and capsules are widely sold in blister packaging. The added advantages are assurance of product safety and multiple product packaging. Despite its advantages, blister packaging is non-biodegradable and non-recyclable. This has led to environmental concerns regarding its large scale use.
Blister Packaging Market Taxonomy
On basis of technology
- Vacuum Forming
- Pressure Forming
- Cold forming
On basis of blister packing machine
- Plate type
- Roller type
- Roller-Plate type
On basis of product type
- Blister Cards
- Face Seal
- Full Face Seal
- Trapped Blister
- Full Card Blister
- Clam Shell
- Two piece
On basis of Material
- Plastic Films
- Paper and Cardboard
On basis of end-use
- Electronics and Semiconductors
- Consumer Goods
Blister packaging market can be segmented on basis of fabricating process, thermoforming and cold forming respectively. Thermoformed plastics are versatile, lightweight and aesthetically pleasing. Cold formed plastics have more tensile strength and stiffness. Clamshell packaging is used for consumer goods. They are usually transparent in order to ensure that the consumer can see the contents of the packaging. Blister cards are used in pharmaceuticals industry, and they are manufactured by heat sealing a sheet foil. Plastic films, cardboard and aluminum are used as blister packaging materials.
Blister Packaging Market Outlook
- Asia Pacific is the fastest market due to burgeoning growth of the pharmaceuticals industry, which has been driven by large populations in India and China. Increase in the geriatric and infant population has led to surge in demand for medicines. Moreover, relatively low-cost healthcare in countries such as Thailand and India has boosted medical tourism in the region. Lax regulations have hindered exports to countries such as US and Canada. For instance, India-based manufacturer Ranbaxy was banned from drug sales in US due to manufacturing and quality violations.
- North America and Europe markets are also expected to gain major traction due to high consumption of consumer goods and electronics. Also, the pharmaceuticals industry in these regions is matured and with the high prevalence of lifestyle diseases the market is projected to grow further. The market is supplemented by Latin American and Asian markets.
- Middle East region population has high disposable incomes which drives consumerism. Electronics and consumer goods are growing rapidly, driving the blister packaging industry as well. Decline in markets of Syria and Iran have been compensated by high growth in the GCC countries.
- Latin America is a growth engine, with Brazil positioned as the fourth largest pharmaceuticals market in the world. Argentina, Mexico and Brazil are also among the largest producers of non-patented generic drugs, which are exported to over 40 countries from these countries. Mexico being a member of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has access to the lucrative markets of US and Canada, which has resulted in Mexico becoming a manufacturing hub for international pharmaceutical companies.
Alternatives to blister packaging such as Stretch and Skin packaging are gaining popularity due to increased performance. More durability, toughness, improved aesthetics and lower material use are advantages over conventional blister packaging.
- In January 2019, Constantia Flexibles launched its new packaging system, Flexible Blister. The new packaging system will find application in oral dosage pharmaceuticals and can accommodate various specifications for sizes and shapes.
- In 2016, Constantia Flexibles launched “Blister Eco”, a pharmaceutical packaging lidding foil for low barrier products, in the U.S. market. The lidding foil offers superior barrier properties and excellent in-line and off-line printability.
- In 2016, Klockner Pentaplast launched Pentapharm LiquiGuard, a new range of pharmaceutical blister films. The new film offers low leachability, high heat stability, odor & flavor retention, and one stage forming & packaging of hot-fill products. The product can be used in wide range of applications such as nutraceuticals, chewables, pharmaceuticals, unit dose liquids, veterinary, and formulations sensitive to flavor or odor loss packaging.
- In May 2019, Bellwyck Pharma Services, expanded its blistering capabilities by adding a new blistering line at packaging facility located in Ontario, Canada. The new machine has cold form, thermo form and deep draw blister capabilities. The expansion will help the company to meet increasing demand for blister packaging.
- In 2017, PCI Pharma Services acquired Millmount Healthcare, a pharmaceutical and healthcare contract packaging services provider. Millmount offers blister packaging, cold chain packaging, and bottling & tube filling services. The acquisition will help PCI Pharma Services to expand its market presence.
The major players in the blister packaging market are Constantia Flexibles, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (U.S.), Klockner (Germany), Honeywell International Inc. (U.S.), Tekni-plex, Inc. (U.S.), and Display Pack, Inc. (U.S.).