Glass or polymer: What’s the right choice for prefillable syringes?

Glass is the gold standard for parenteral packaging, especially in the prefilled syringe (PFS) market, where it represents 95 percent of all applications. But glass isn’t the only solution on the market. Polymers are also a well-established container material for many drugs, but its acceptance in parenteral packaging, especially for prefillable syringes (PFSs), is still debated. While both glass and polymer offer benefits for use in PFSs, it’s often difficult for pharmaceutical companies to choose the right material to meet the needs of their drugs and delivery to patients.

SCHOTT TopPac®

At the 7th Annual Conference on Pre-Filled Syringes — held on January 28 and 29, 2015 in London — I’ll shed light on the glass versus polymer debate with a presentation about the benefits and limitations of glass and polymer PFSs, and address how pharmaceutical companies can choose the best option for their drugs.

While there’s not a simple roadmap that tells pharmaceutical manufacturers whether to use glass or polymer packaging, pharmaceutical packaging manufacturers can help make the decision easier. By looping in packaging teams early on, pharmaceutical companies and packaging companies can work together to identify drug requirements and match those with the right packaging solutions. The three key pieces all pharmaceutical companies must take into account are:

1. Product needs (drug stability and packaging design adapted to drug delivery requirements)

2. Process requirements (standardization processes and filling line requirements with low waste rates)

3. Patient regulations (functionality and ease of use with no failures)

While glass is the legacy material for many pharmaceutical applications, polymer options are becoming more widely accepted for a number of applications. As PFS designs change and begin to require greater flexibility, polymer could be another choice material in the pharmaceutical industry.

My presentation at the 7th Annual Conference on Pre-Filled Syringes will be held at 11 a.m. on January 29. In case you can’t attend the conference, be sure to check back on the SCHOTT blog for a recap of the discussion and an overview of where glass and polymer PFSs stand and their role in the future of pharmaceutical packaging.

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Hello, I’m Anil Busimi, Head of Global Product Management in SCHOTT’s syringe division. I joined SCHOTT in 2003, and have since held a number of different positions, including Business Development Manager for microarrays, Consultant in corporate strategy and development, and Strategic Business Manager for the global pharmaceutical packaging division. I was the Global Product Manager for SCHOTT’s TopPac syringes before taking on my current role. I hold a master’s degree in agriculture and genetics, as well as an MBA.

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