A U.K.-based consortium is working on the development of smart packaging for pharmaceuticals.

The REMEDIES project is headed by GlaxoSmithKline, with research led by the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing. The partners aim to bring new technologies to market that have the potential to improve medicine manufacturing and supply and offer more personalized, faster and cheaper drug delivery.

According to technology innovation specialist the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), one of the organizations involved, REMEDIES will look at innovative ways to tackle supply chain inefficiencies. The project focuses on five technology-based application themes spanning both ends of clinical and commercial supply chains. These themes address active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing, primary to secondary manufacturing, super-critical fluid technology, agile packaging and printed electronics.

The integration of printed electronics into packaging is expected to improve patient outcomes and compliance by providing information and validation around anti-counterfeiting, product tampering and whether the drug is fit for consumption.

Smart pharmaceutical packaging is also easily integrated with Near Field Communication (NFC), Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) and other wireless based applications, providing the opportunity to optimize logistics operations and stock control within the product life cycle, the CPI explained.

Dr. Alan McClleland, business manager at the CPI, commented: “The ability to integrate printed sensors into pharmaceutical packaging opens up a host of opportunities for the industry both in improving patient care and the logistics associated with the product life cycle. Going forward the key is to develop new innovative products and technologies to market volumes and price points that facilitate mass market adoption.”