Anyone who takes long-term medications knows that it can be difficult to remember to take them daily. Earlier this month, 4,600 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies introduced new packaging for select prescriptions that has a dual benefit: it is sustainable, and it helps patients stay on schedule with their medications. Initially, the packaging, called a compliance pack, will be available for 40 different items, but the company plans to use the packs for an additional 35 to 40 items in the next few months.
The Ecoslide-RX box, made by Keystone Folding Box Company, is an eco-friendly package made from 100% recyclable material, has a secondary package that contains no plastic, and requires a minimal amount of film and foil for the actual pill pack. What makes this pack unique is that it has a physical calendar printed on the package that allows consumers to see whether they’ve taken their dosage for a certain day—which really helps patients stick to their medical regimens.
“In looking at pharmaceutical packaging, one of the issues that arises is medication residue left in a bottle after a script has been taken. Sometimes people may forget to take all their medication, so some pills may be left over, and the patient may not know what to do with them,” said Ron Sasine, Walmart’s senior director of packaging for private brands, to Packaging World. “With a calendar-style pack, the medication tends to get used in its entirety so that the pack can get disposed of without leaving behind any additional bits of pill that you might find in a medicine bottle. That means more packaging materials can be sent to a recycler than to the waste hauler.”
This introduction not only builds on our overall sustainability efforts in packaging, but it also extends our existing work in sustainable pharmaceutical solutions. In 2011, we became part of the SMARxT DISPOSAL program, which educates consumers about the safe disposal of medicine to protect the environment and human and wildlife health.
“We feel strongly that the addition of the Ecoslide-RX package is the right thing to do for patients,” Jodie Cartwright, senior pharmaceutical buyer at Walmart, told Packaging World. “We don’t plan for these packs to completely replace other packaging formats but to use them as an alternative. We are working with manufacturers to introduce this process and to educate them on the calendarized pack.”
Do you have trouble keeping track of your medication schedule? Do you think this new packaging could help?