Injectable pharmaceuticals are drug product delivery systems that can be used as an alternative to oral drugs and are more effective because of how fast they work. Injectable pharmaceuticals are passed into the human body through syringes to the bloodstream and other parts of the body. Unlike oral drugs, injectable drugs do not get dismantled in the stomach and are not altered by digestive enzymes. There are several benefits of injectable pharmaceuticals, and that is why many biotech companies and big pharmaceuticals are keying into the many opportunities in this industry.
What are the top companies that manufacture injectable pharmaceuticals?
There are many existing companies and vendors and a lot more coming up with new syringe technology ideas. Quality, financial capacity, knowledge, and experience of the industry are all key parameters in which to judge an injectable manufacturing company.
It is almost impossible to make mention of injectable pharmaceuticals without referencing Pfizer. In 2015, the company completed its buyout of Hospira, a biosimilar company and one of the top suppliers of generic injectable drugs such as anesthesia, oncology, cardiovascular, and anti-ineffective therapies.
Other big names are Hikma, Sagent and Novartis.
What are the main challenges of manufacturing injectable pharmaceuticals?
While many patients find injectable pharmaceuticals more effective than oral medicine, injectable drugs are less convenient for patients, raising issues of adherence, even for those that are in chronic conditions.
The quest for different delivery methods is another challenge even though it is being managed with the recent growth of the global injectable drug delivery market. Patients, regardless of their state, want convenience and as a result, manufacturers are faced with the challenge of meeting this demand while making sure that the right dosage form is provided.
Lack of finances can also be a significant challenge to manufacturing injectable pharmaceuticals.
What factors are driving trends in injectable pharmaceuticals?
The primary factor that appears to be driving trends in injectable pharmaceuticals is the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases. With more and more people falling ill with chronic conditions, demand for injectable drugs has increased.
Another key factor is the advancement in technology, which has contributed in no small way to patient compliance with injectable drugs.
Implementing innovations in injectable drug delivery
The biotech and pharmaceutical companies need to align their drug development with the several diseases and viruses that continue to spring up. Drug manufacturers worldwide invest a lot of money into this because it is a very long process that requires attention to details through the development, clinical trials, injection molding and approval stages. The clinical trial stage is by far the most complex of these stages because the drug has to be tested and properly evaluated to be sure it is efficient and safe for use by a large number of people.
What are the benefits of injectable pharmaceuticals?
Many people prefer to take injections than to swallow several pills, because the former are usually faster in action. Dosage of injectable drugs can be controlled: One of the significant challenges that are being faced by drug industries is drug abuse, where many use more than the prescribed amount of drug. Injectable pharmaceuticals can control this usage as professionals who are at the developing end of these pharmaceutical devices can control the quantity and concentration.
What are the limitations of injectable drug delivery devices?
The injectable drug delivery and injection molding industry is a highly innovative one, and that is why we have seen the development of many devices over the years. However, the sector still has limitations.
Recently, the injection molding industry has considered a move towards more customized hand-held devices that take advantage of existing platforms. The challenge, however, with this is the difficulty that comes with customizing the platforms. To successfully make use of these platforms, biotech and pharmaceutical companies need to differentiate them from existing ones to reach their target market faster.
Another major limitation of injectable drug delivery devices is the need for human factor engineering in designing hand-held devices. Getting the required skill on a larger scale has not been possible and has largely affected the industry projections with these devices' design. Human factor engineering is crucial for developing any connected drug delivery device in today's world. The human factor focuses on the essential elements of human interactions.
Limitation also exist in the form of regulatory guidance issued by government authorities. While the essence of these guidelines is to ensure there is a uniform framework that explains how human factor engineering and studies should be integrated into drug delivery devices, the process of seeking approval is lengthy and appears almost impossible for everyone other than the big biotech companies. This means that the availability of injectable drug delivery devices is only limited to big biotech and pharmaceutical companies' capacity.
What are some recent advances in injectable drug delivery technology?
Efforts are being made to design drug delivery devices and implement client needs into such design. An example of this is the drug delivery device of Duoject that not only focuses on meeting the mechanical needs, but has also developed a design methodology that ensures its devices are comprehensive, meeting different end-users' needs.
A notable delivery device of Duoject is its Vaccject – a cartridge-based device that serves as an alternative to the popular prefilled syringe. This delivery device comes with an auto-retract needle safety feature that can be separated from the device until you want to use it.
Another recent advancement that we have seen with injectable drug delivery technology is Enable injector development, which comes in a smaller and lighter size. It has a long-term container closure that is not contained in the device, so it is not as heavy as other devices. It also comes with a 'pause' function that users can make use of at any time and makes it possible for users to stop injecting the drug when they experience any pain or discomfort in the process.
Many biotech companies are working to deliver smarter and more effective auto-injectors. A significant consideration for the companies that produce such devices is the ability to customize an auto-injector to fit a particular company's portfolio.
Injectable pharmaceutical processing and packaging
After successfully manufacturing injectable pharmaceuticals, the next step is to have them processed and packaged. Over the years, we have seen several changes in how drugs are generally being packaged. Injectable drugs have not been different as they have come in various delivery systems that have changed over the years.
The most important elements of injectable pharmaceutical processing and packaging include the need for quality, good administration systems, and the best components. There is also the need to be aware of the regulatory guidelines that mitigate risk during packaging. Worthy of mention is the need for advanced technologies as this makes processing and packaging faster and more effective.
What materials are commonly used in injectable primary pharmaceutical packaging?
The most common primary materials used in injectable pharmaceutical packaging are prefillable glass syringes and vials for glass packaging. While these are the major materials for modern aseptic injectables, others are still being used. Some manufacturers use various glass container systems that help them customize the appearance of the injectable drug. These glass containers are used mainly for storing parenterals. Other materials needed in the packaging process include a container closure system, reconstitution kits, disposable syringes, ampoules, and pen systems.
Depending on the manufacturer and the type of design they look to achieve like plastic injection molding, they can also consider using other materials for drug delivery devices. However, it is imperative to consider end-users' needs when packaging these injectable drugs, especially because of the low compliance level of patients.
Growth opportunities abound for auto-injectors amid patient-centric healthcare transition, experts tell CPhI webinar
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