As product technology advances and the general demand for healthcare expands, the industry line between medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies are being blurred as innovative products continue to emerge. Manufacturers are exploring new technologies that adhere to better patient compliance, improve product safety and utilize unique drug delivery methods. These new technologies include:
– Small adhesive patches that are encapsulated and swallowed. Once in the body they dissolve and stick to the wall of the intestine to deliver time released medication
– Implantable devices that automatically run tests and dose medications
– Transdermal patches that are embedded with micro sized needles that deliver medication over a period of time
As technology advances and healthcare treatments become more complex, the pharmaceutical and medical device industries will continue to merge their technologies and expertise to deliver patient solutions that combine both pharmaceuticals and medical devices into one simple and convenient product. Currently about half of all manufacturers in both industries have turned to contract services to meet demand as products become more intertwined.
As this newly meshed relationship forms there are many concerns and factors that both industries need to keep in mind, with the top two being:
1. Regulations: Government regulation requires manufacturers to adapt their processes to meet changing production demands of speed, flexibility, and safety while continuing to comply with regulations. Complying with these regulations usually requires a large investment in machinery and software systems, with two out of three companies reporting that they will be spending more on capital equipment in the next two years. Smaller manufacturers are having a hard time with this large expenditure burden, so they are turning to OEMs to help with regulation compliance strategies by adapting their machines to meet data acquisition and storage requirements for marking and tracking products which includes coding and vision inspection systems.
2. High Demand: In addition to complying with numerous regulations, pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers also face the challenge of increasing consumer demand. This demand is fueled by increased insurance coverage rates and improved healthcare availability. To meet this demand, manufacturers have to produce products at a faster rate, while adhering to stringent regulations. As a result, many manufacturers have turned to smaller batch runs with greater product diversity and more frequent changeovers, requiring machines that are both fast and versatile. OEMs can be a valuable partner in adjusting to process changes by providing manufacturers with innovative, flexible machine builds that are designed to integrate seamlessly into production lines and software systems.
Manufacturers Need a Partner: As pharmaceutical and medical device companies strive to keep up with market demand, they will search for trusted partners to help them comply with the maze of complex regulations. Manufacturers will also need help with the process of implementing new technology, especially automation and data management solutions, which will play a crucial role in a manufacturer’s ability to operate efficiently in a growing market. OEMs and technology suppliers are perfectly situated to offer their experience and expertise to manufacturers as an invaluable tool in resolving future challenges; expertise in automation, integration services, and regulation compliance are key. OEMs and technology suppliers can form stronger relationships by working collaboratively to address a manufacturer’s unique needs on an individual level, in order to achieve a mutually beneficial partnership.