A patient-centric approach to packaging design

Redesigning packaging to enhance patient convenience and improve adherence to therapy.

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Historically medicine packs have been designed to meet technical and regulatory requirements. Medicine packs have rarely been designed to ensure convenience or usability. While there have been some efforts to make them more usable, no large scale solution has ever been implemented. Dr. Reddy’s identified packaging as an underserved area, and therefore an opportunity to innovate.

We partnered with IDEO, the global design and innovation consulting firm, and applied a ‘Human-Centred Design’ approach to finding solutions. We interviewed a cross-section of patients, doctors and pharmacists across the country. In our research, we found that patients often forget to take their prescribed drug, or sometimes the dosage information is not visible on the packaging once the patient has started taking a particular medicine. This leads to interruption of the treatment cycle and could impact cure or management. Keeping patient conveniences and priorities in mind, we introduced innovative blister packaging for few of our brands in the Indian market.

The new packaging offers patients the following advantages:

Stub Extensions on which the brand name, expiry date, and MRP are printed, so they can be read even if the patient consumes all the pills from the pack.

A Dosing Matrix which allows the doctor’s prescription to be recorded on the pack itself, so that there is no need to refer to the prescription for the exact dosing.

Bi-Monthly Dosage Packs with 14 pills so that patients can move from a monthly to weekly (or fortnightly) buying and consumption pattern, which is easier to adhere to.

Color-coded Stubs for different strengths so both chemists and patients can easily identify the right dosage.

Drip-Free Bottles ensure that syrups don’t leave sticky deposits on the sides and necks of bottles while being poured. With clean necks, the aluminium caps can be easily closed.

Re-Designed Measuring Cups are sturdy, convenient to hold, and have wider lips and slightly rounded bottoms, so that they’re easier to clean.

Once the designs were tested and validated with patients, it moved to the manufacturing plants for implementation. It wasn’t easy. The new designs had a higher production cost and many of the machine parts and moulds that were required didn’t exist. We had to work with vendors to custom-build them to the new requirements. Moreover, the new parts had to be implemented across multiple internal and partner manufacturing sites to achieve the necessary scale. Over the course of two years we invested close to INR 7 crore, collaborated with over ten partners, and undertook a major change management exercise to get the new packaging systems in place.

But all the cost and effort has been worth it. We’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response from doctors, patients, chemists, and the healthcare industry. The new packs have been introduced for 25 of our leading brands. These innovative packs are reaching out to over 2 crore patients across the country, making a difference in their therapy experience. As we have often discovered in our efforts, it’s the little things that make a big difference to how patients feel about the way their care needs are met.

 

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