Don’t Brown Bag It! Why Packaging Matters to Veterinary Medicine Quality

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Many veterinary medicines are sensitive to light. Proper packaging of veterinary pharmaceuticals makes a big difference. Improper packaging which exposes the medicine to light can have a serious impact on:

  • Product degradation: light can cause the product to degrade thus reducing the potency of the product, in turn reducing its efficacy
  • Adverse effects: the product could degrade into toxic chemical compounds 
  • Product usage: light can affect the expiration date or BUD (beyond-use date), potentially reducing its stability

Veterinary drug products have two main types of packaging: primary packaging which houses the product (glass vial, tablet bottle, ophthalmic bottle, etc.), and secondary packaging which is used to either transport the product or protect the product from external environmental factors, such as light. In many cases, secondary packaging is unnecessary if the primary packaging sufficiently protects the product from breakage during shipping or is amber-colored or opaque, which protects the product from light.

Just like a kid whose mother sent them with a brown bag lunch to save money, many leading veterinary pharmacies utilize brown bags as secondary packaging for the same reason—the primary packaging of the products that they have procured is insufficient to protect the product from light. Bagging a drug allows a pharmacy or manufacturer to reduce packaging costs while protecting the product from light just long enough to get it into a veterinary hospital’s hands, leaving it to the veterinary staff to take additional steps to protect their drug inventory.

The Cost of Ineffective Veterinary Medicine Packaging

This improperly packaged inventory requires offices to pay for their own stock of correct containers and then transfer the medication into bottles (i.e., amber plastic dram vials) that effectively protect the product. Brown bagging saves the manufacturer on container costs but increases expenses and inventory complications for veterinary hospitals. It’s simple—don’t brown bag it!

While bagging the medicine may be sufficient to protect these drugs from light in transfer from veterinary practice to the client’s home, it increases the risk of exposure to light from manufacturer to veterinary practice, while in inventory, and once in the home.

Tacrolimus eye drops and other compounded ophthalmic liquids are particularly sensitive to light. If these are packaged in clear vials and ‘brown bagged’, this insufficient secondary packaging could cause the eye drops to degrade faster, reduce their shelf life, make dosing less predictable, and potentially release toxins from inactive ingredients. Amber-colored or opaque bottling protects the drug from light and ensures a predictable shelf life to reduce your inventory waste.

Commitment to Quality Saves Costs & Patients

Epicur Pharma’s investments in rigorous container closing studies led us to choose our opaque container for products like tacrolimus eye drops that are sensitive to light. These products are tested before bottling and after packaging to verify purity and stability. Epicur’s product and packaging choices and thorough testing standards are designed with your practice and your patient in mind: to reduce your risk and improve patient outcomes.

[Pictured Right: Epicur’s opaque bottle which protects the suspension from light, compared to a clear bottle that can allow light exposure.]

There are better ways to save money and improve margin than brown bagging it! Save your practice time and money by partnering with a manufacturer that puts your needs first. See our complete list of ophthalmic medications and call us to start your order—888-508-5032.

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