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Toward Patient-centered Packaging Design: An Industry Perspective on Processes, Functions, and Constraints



Medication packaging is essential to provide patients with guidance and correct use of their medicines for effective treatment. This research aims to increase knowledge about the medication packaging innovation process and its uptake toward patient-centered packaging design. The study applied a qualitative research approach based on data from twenty-five in-depth interviews with stakeholders involved in medication packaging design. The empirical data analysis revealed four themes to examine that can improve and advance user-centered packaging design: medication packaging innovation process, medication packaging functions and features, medication packaging design constraints, and patient-centered medication packaging design. The findings suggest that medication packaging design is strongly affected by an emphasis on protective and safety packaging functions rather than on patients’ needs. Packaging innovation usually is constrained by rigid incremental development processes, where compliance with regulations, extensive documentation, avoidance of manufacturing complexity, and considerations on cost prevail. These findings are discussed in relation to the three most evident trade-offs for patient-centered design: protection versus openability, utility versus cost, complexity of manufacturability versus complexity of use. This research contributes with valuable input and additional evidence about the necessary shift to a user-centered approach in a field that has not been design driven. This input complements previous research and provides an opportunity for industry decision makers and policy makers to lead patient-centered packaging development that can benefit patients and relieve overloaded health care systems.


interview study, medication packaging, packaging design, packaging innovation process, patient-centered design, user-centered design.Text


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