Medical devices couldn’t exist without safe and effective packaging. Many types of containers—pouches, clamshell packs, blister packs, and others—protect marketed devices from contamination, whether their end-users are clinicians or consumers. Devices are often packaged in materials that can be as high-tech as the devices themselves.
Orthopedic and medical device manufacturers are constantly looking for means to make all aspects of design, development, and production faster, safer, and less expensive. This includes packaging and sterilization, which can unfortunately be overlooked or underestimated as vital parts of the production process. There are both very strict regulatory requirements for packaging and sterilization, as well as increased challenges as newer, innovative products with complex designs enter the market. Many of these can be combination products or tissues/biologics that aren’t compatible with traditional packaging and sterilization methods.
Packaging and sterilization are both quickly expanding markets within the orthopedic and medical device industry. Both are integral to ensure devices are free of contaminants, safe to use, and can withstand a variety of shipping and storage conditions. And although medical packaging materials still rely on legacy products like Tyvek and nylon, OEMs are finding it more difficult to remain with these options because of evolving regulations. The trend toward product complexity also makes it more difficult to totally sterilize these products with standard methods.
Author: Sam Brusco