Medical packaging films market primarily consists of high barrier films, co-extruded films, and formable films. Medical packaging films provide a high barrier against moisture, water, oxygen, and other gases. Medical packaging films are used in the manufacture of packaging formats such as bags & pouches, blister packs, labels, sachets, and wraps. Materials used to manufacture medical packaging films include, plastic, aluminum, and oxides. High barrier films segment is further segmented into metallized and coated films. Metallized medical packaging films segment is expected to witness a positive growth, registering a CAGR of 5.1%. Coated medical packaging films are coated with polymers or aluminum to improve their barrier property.
Medical packaging films are used as lidding on trays. For tray lids, the seal area should transmit the peeling force smoothly around the package. The shape of the seal and design and location of the peel tabs affect the relative ease of opening. Bags & pouches are used for the packaging of gloves, catheters, syringes, dressings, bandages, etc. Medical packaging films tend to provide less physical protection than the rigid ones. The sealing of medical device packaging is critical. Inappropriate sealing can negatively affect the package integrity of the medical packaging films.
Manufacturers are exploring the clinical requirement for two sterile barriers on the medical device. Depending on the attributes of the device, including its size, design specifications, complexity, number of components, and the clinical procedure itself, having two sterile barriers in medical packaging films is an unnecessary use of packaging materials and resources. It is estimated that by the year 2050, over 5% of the U.S. population will be over the age of 85 and will overall drive the medical packaging films market.
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The aging trend is not limited to the United States but is a global phenomenon that warrants the consideration of packaging for all types of products. Not only do aging consumers use medical products at a higher per capita rate than the general population, but they are also at risk of inappropriate product use for a variety of reasons. Therefore, manufacturers of medical packaging films have engaged in patient-centric packaging.
Medical packaging films need to be approved for use with a specific medical device by the Food & Drug Administration. However, generally, the FDA regulates medical devices but leaves the choice of acceptable medical packaging films largely up to the device makers. The FDA doesn’t approve medical packaging films as independent products. Medical packaging films are validated for medical use by the device maker. The validation specifies and essentially freezes every aspect of production, including exact resin grades and additives, extrusion parameters, and even which specific extruder in a plant makes the medical packaging films. This relatively inflexible system means that a medical packaging films processor must be assured of a stable, long-term supply of approved resins. If a resin company stops producing one of those materials, medical packaging films have to be requalified with new resin.