Our Expertise

Creative Compliance

Background:

HPT Pharma (“HPT”) is a Warrington, Pennsylvania-based provider of packaging solutions for the pharmaceutical industry. Since 1999, pharmaceutical producers around the world have turned to HPT and its experience in the areas of blister machine tooling and blister packaging equipment. The company creates cost-effective pharmaceutical packaging options that bring together advanced design tools, industry knowledge, and proven design methodologies to meet the most demanding specifications.

The Challenge:

A major pharmaceutical contract packager and longtime HPT client was approached by an end user that hopes to implement a new “compliance pack.” This new type of blister pack offered the child resistance of a bottle; yet unlike a bottle, the 30-day package prevented misdosage by making it easy to see if a given day’s dosage had been taken.

The package was a two-part compliance system, comprised of a carton and a blister pack within the carton. The child resistance, meanwhile, came from an internal locking mechanism, which would only work if the components met exacting specifications.

The carton had been designed first, and during the blister design phase the client realized it had to be slightly bigger to prevent leakage between cavities. Producing a blister card under the minimum dimensions would risk having leakage. What’s more, the company had already made significant equipment investments; there was a real urgency to secure a solution that would not jeopardize those investments, so they had to develop a blister that would work with the existing carton.

The company contacted the OEM of the blister machinery to discuss increasing the blister size in order to meet this need. The OEM, however, was reluctant to help them operate outside of their standards. In fact, they were quick to say they couldn’t guarantee everything would work as intended.

The Solution:

With the OEM falling short of a workable solution, the client turned to HPT.

“HPT began with a drawing of the carton to see how the carton and blister could function as one,” says the company’s operations/engineering manager. “Knowing that both had to complement each other within very tight tolerances meant the first step was to establish a specification that we couldn’t compromise. From those standards, they defined a ‘workable area’—what could be modified—in order to make it work.”

Next, HPT created a blister that would fit within that workable area and guarantee compatibility with the applicable areas, depths, and other dimensions. By varying pitches and angles, they came up with a cavity layout that could accept the 30 doses.

At the same time, the operations/engineering manager goes on to say their collaboration with HPT even identified opportunities to further enhance the package. “As you opened/closed the carton there was some drag,” he says. “HPT’s suggested change enabled the blister to travel in and out of the carton more smoothly. As soon as we tried their sample, we knew it had to be that way.

“They didn’t just hand us something that could be easily duplicated by someone else—this is unique. They helped us optimize that locking feature, improved the fit, and succeeded where the OEM could not. The HPT solution worked perfectly.”

The Benefits:

HPT’s client was able to meet their end-user’s launch deadline. More importantly, the operations/engineering manager says his company achieved an F=1 rating—the highest possible with a compliance package—and they did it without adding any cost. There was no equipment redesign, and no need to buy any new equipment. The HPT solution enabled the use of components and machines they already had.

He goes on to say that because HPT was able to work within the predefined boundaries, none of the time or money invested in validating the package went to waste. “It was different in terms of the cavity layout, but our customer wasn’t concerned about the blister orientation. We hit their target on time.”

“This project had a huge upside for our client,” says HPT President JM Hasson. “They’re now able to service an entire family of products for this compliance package. This opportunity brings real short- and long-term sales benefits for both businesses. I couldn’t be happier that we were able to help them.”