Pfizer Innovating Their Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Process
American multinational pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer is changing the way it tests its blister packs, which is the most common kind of pharmaceutical packaging in the world used to get drugs to consumers. Instead of using the traditional blue dye to detect leaks, the company will now scan their blister packs with high resolution imaging machines from Sepha.
The scanner uses a vacuum chamber and imaging software to replace the test that traditionally checks blister packs for fault. The VisionScan technology inserts a blister pack into its chamber and then creates a vacuum. The pockets of the blister pack should rise up and swell. Once that’s done, light is projected into the chamber and reference images are taken. These images are then compared with control images to check for any deviations. If any aberrations are detected, the packs are declared either a gross failure, which is a large hole, or a decay failure, which is a minor fault that’s released over time.
This process is about twice as sensitive as the blue dye method. The VisionScan can detect faults down to 15 microns, whereas the blue dye method can only detect faults of 30 microns.
In addition to being a more effective testing method, it’s also less wasteful. The packs tested with the blue dye method must be thrown away, a waste of perfectly good resources. With the VisionScan technology, no packs are ruined and wind up in a landfill.
Though VisionScan initially costs much more to invest in than the blue dye method, Paul Kelly, the marketing manager of Sepha, revelaed that companies can expect a return on investment in as little as two years. These cost benefits are one of the main advantages that first attracted Pfizer, and is why the company is rolling the technology out in its developing markets first.