PMPN_Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News

Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News, July/August 2015

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5 July/August 2015 Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News • Editorial PMP News is on Follow Daphne username: @daphneallen How to Survive and Thrive T he numbers sound pretty good from our annual sal- a r y s u r v e y — r e s p o n d e n t s report an average annual salary of $126,300, with an average raise of 4.3%. Job satisfaction is high—just under 17% are actively looking for new jobs. And we're told that there are job opportunities—some managers even report difculty in finding skilled packaging professionals. (Our feature on the results starts on p. 13.) Nonetheless, these professionals speak of ongoing cost reduction and consolidation as well as an increased work- load. What could be going on for such a mixed report? The pharmaceutical industry may be undergoing a transition, with numerous branded drugs going of pat- ent and significant growth predicted for biotech-based products, reports Kumar Nanavati, currently managing director of Kuma Packaging Solutions LLC. (Nanavati has previously worked for Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Wyeth, and Novartis.) For instance, companies such as BMS vowed a few years ago to switch to biopharma, he explains. Also, plant network strategies are shifting in the pharma- ceutical industry, observes Nanavati. "Locations are chang- ing, and they are closing down facilities," he says. "Instead of 30 to 50 production lines, they are reducing the number of lines and the head count." And it isn't just packaging, reports James F. Lynch, presi- dent of Regional Personnel, a recruiting firm specializing in stafng in the pharmaceutical, medical device, and other industries. "It's across all functional areas of pharma." Companies are also reducing SKUs, adds Nanavati. Firms are busy rationalizing certain package designs and eliminating others, explains Lynch. Globalization, too, is putting pressure on management, continues Lynch. To survive (and thrive) in such a changing industry, pack- aging engineers should become subject matter experts on the issues critical for pharma today. Some of these issues have emerged from the growth of biopharma, such as tem- perature control, requiring a slightly diferent skill set. Nanavati ofers the following list of emerging issues for packaging engineers to study: • Serialization or track & trace. • Cold chain. • Compliance/adherence packaging. • Digital printing. • Anti-counterfeit packaging. • Tamper-resistant (or evident) packaging. • Child-resistant packaging. • Sustainability initiatives by management. • Regulations as they pertain to packaging. • International packaging requirements (FDA, EMA, ANVISA, DEA…) • Graphics coordination. "Be up to date with the latest requirements, and be ready with that knowledge," Nanavati says. "Be an expert. And don't just be a packaging engineer. Work hand-in-hand with colleagues, such as in labeling and graphics design, and gain some laboratory testing experience. Attend shows and seminars, visit suppliers, travel to your other facilities. Understand all costs. Roll up your sleeves and grow." Adds Lynch: "Understand where you sit in the whole organization by getting to know your counterparts through- out the development process. This will allow you to better anticipate product challenges. For example, by understand- ing that a key factor of commercial success of a new drug is thought to be adherence, then perhaps one can identify options to help improve adherence through your piece of the development process—e.g., innovative packaging designs." Lynch believes that the next generation of pharma pro- fessionals will need to develop this broader sense of the entire organization on their own by taking the initiative and actively network within," he says. "Every company has its own culture and priorities. The next generation of profes- sional will be seen as more valuable to their project team, their department, and the company if they bring a broader and company-wide perspective to their work." Daphne Allen, Editor

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