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Excessive Paper Packaging in Pharmaceutical Samples

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					Excessive Paper Packaging in
  Pharmaceutical Samples
   Martin Donohoe, MD, FACP
     Excessive Paper Packaging in
       Pharmaceutical Samples
• Samples
  – utility
  – large, colorful single use packages
• Paper packaging constitutes up to 50% of
  the 180 million tons of garbage Americans
  produce each year, and represents the fastest
  growing segment of garbage production
     Excessive Paper Packaging in
       Pharmaceutical Samples
• Only 25-30% of paper is recycled; most
  ends up in landfills
• Available landfills space decreasing
  – 1978 - 14,000 available landfills
  – 1990 - 5,000
  – result - garbage exportation by states
     Excessive Paper Packaging in
       Pharmaceutical Samples
• Purpose: determine the relative amounts of
  packaging and pills in pharmaceutical
  samples in a university general medicine
  clinic (three 8x3x3 ft. cabinets)

• Methods: weight and volume measured for
  all components of one of each sample type
     Excessive Paper Packaging in
       Pharmaceutical Samples
• Results:
  – 92 packages contained 665 pills (7.2  6.2
    pills/package, mean  SD)
  – paper packaging constitutes 65% of overall
    package weight
  – pill volume/paper product box volume = 0.0132
     Excessive Paper Packaging in
       Pharmaceutical Samples
• Results (cont.):

                                        Weight (g)   % of Total Weight
    Total Sample Mass                   2090.00           100%
    Total Pill Mass                     260.00            12%
    Total Bottle Mass                   260.00            12%
    Total Plastic/Foil Packaging Mass   220.00            11%
    Total Paper Packaging Mass          1350.00            65%
     Excessive Paper Packaging in
       Pharmaceutical Samples
• Conclusions:
  – Pharmaceutical samples contain a very high
    ration of packaging to pills
  – Large packages may contribute to increased
    brand recognition and prescribing, but also take
    up excessive space in overcrowded clinics and
    constitute a wasteful use of paper products
    derived from trees, a precious natural resource
     Excessive Paper Packaging in
       Pharmaceutical Samples
• The future
  – The Paperboard Packaging Council predicts
    that U.S. medicinal carton use will grow
    5%/yr. Over the next four years.
  – Increased development of cartons with curves,
    metallic coatings, holograms, and barrier
    coatings (all less recyclable)
     Excessive Paper Packaging in
       Pharmaceutical Samples
• Solution
  – awareness of problem/context
  – pressure on industry (worked successfully with
    compact disc packaging)
    Contact Information

Public Health and Social Justice
            Website

     http://www.phsj.org
   martindonohoe@phsj.org

				
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posted:3/2/2011
language:English
pages:10