More than a decade ago, MWV embarked on a mission to develop a packaging solution that would address a pervasive problem facing prescription drug patients worldwide: poor medication adherence – not following medication regimens as directed. According to the New England Healthcare Institute, patients who do not follow their medication regimens cost the US healthcare system an estimated $290 billion a year, or 13% of total healthcare expenditures.
MWV recognised that packaging could play a significant role in helping patients better adhere to their medication routines. Improved patient adherence could result in cost savings across the entire healthcare industry, while also creating efficiencies for doctors and pharmacists, and providing tangible health benefits to patients.
In 2000, MWV began developing its Shellpak adherence-promoting packaging solution. Today, Shellpak is one of the packaging solutions used in Wal-Mart’s $4 generic drug and branded drug programs, and its design is based on the premise that better adherence to a medication regimen can ultimately result in longer term improved health outcomes.
MWV designed Shellpak to feature a thin, molded, rigid outer plastic shell to protect pills, and a push-button system that is senior-friendly and child safe. Confident Shellpak could improve patient adherence, MWV began the search for a manufacturing partner that could produce the new Shellpak packaging solution on machinery that already existed. Finding existing machinery to produce an entirely new pharmaceutical innovation could have been a daunting challenge for MWV… but it wasn’t.
MWV partnered with German equipment manufacturer, Uhlmann, to pilot the initial Shellpak production. With more than 60 years of experience, Uhlmann is an innovator in the design and manufacturing of pharmaceutical packaging equipment; it is the global leader in blister packaging machinery.
Shellpak helps administer pills to patients safely, accurately – and in single, controlled dosages. The flat surface allows for critical drug information and patient education to always remain with the actual drug throughout the prescription period. On the inside, the drugs are pre-filled in a calendarized blister card which helps to remind patients to take their medication correctly and on time, and also helps patients better manage refills.
Designed with the patient’s medication routine in-mind, Shellpak offers the following patient benefits:
Looking beyond the patient, MWV identified additional efficiencies that Shellpak could address throughout the entire supply chain:
Recognising that Shellpak had the power to significantly transform the marketplace, MWV knew that it needed a manufacturing partner that could help advance the production of the product. However, in order to ensure Shellpak’s accessibility to the marketplace, MWV needed a partner like Ulhmann. Today Shellpak can efficiently run on most industry machinery with very little modification necessary.
Since its introduction Shellpak has become a one of the industry’s most reliable and widely used adherence package in the world with over 150 million units shipped.
In addition, Shellpak has received a number of critical certifications and prestigious awards over the past several years, including: