The India pharmaceutical packaging market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5%
over the forecast period 2020 to 2025.
The growing population, rising health awareness, increasing life expectancy can be
attributed to the growth of the pharmaceuticals packaging industry. Moreover,
growing awareness of environmental issues due to traditional packaging material
and the adoption of new regulatory standards for packaging recycling is also driving
the pharmaceutical packaging industry in India.

Focus of various governments on strengthening healthcare facilities and insurance
coverage is further expanding the demand for pharmaceuticals, which, in turn, is
boosting the market growth.

By Product

  • Bottles
  • Specialty bags
  • Urinary collection bags
  • Bile collection bags
  • Blood bags
  • Sterile packaging bags
  • Enteral feeding
  • Parenteral container
  • Bags
  • Bottles
  • Ampoules
  • Vials
  • Cartridges
  • Others

By Material Type

  • Glass
  • Aluminum foils
  • Plastics and polymers
  • Paper and paperboards
  • Others

Segment review


Plastics & polymers held the highest revenue share of 37.1% in 2020. Plastics and
polymers segment is anticipated to experience significant growth and is expected to lead
the India pharmaceutical packaging market. Various types of plastic resins including PE,
PET, PP, PVC, PS, and bioplastic are widely used for manufacturing pharmaceutical
vials, bottles, closures, syringes, pouches, sachets, cartridges, tubes, and blister packs.
Plastics and polymers packaging has gained popularity due to its properties such as
barrier against moisture, high dimensional stability, high impact strength, resistance to
strain, low water absorption, transparency, and resistance to heat and flame. They are
mostly used as primary and secondary packaging material.

Paper & paperboard are majorly used in secondary and tertiary packaging of
pharmaceutical products. Excellent printability, low cost, wide availability, and
sustainability of paper & paperboard make them lucrative secondary and tertiary
packaging options. Paper-based materials are often used as lidding in blister packs on
account of their low cost compared to aluminium lidding.
Glass is impervious to gases, moisture, odours, and microorganisms, thus, is widely
employed in the packaging of liquid and semisolid pharmaceutical formulations. Glass is
used for manufacturing injectable vials, syrup bottles, cartridges, syringes, and other
products. Amber-coloured glass is majorly preferred for pharmaceutical packaging as it
absorbs the harmful UV wavelengths and protects the medicines from getting damaged.

Aluminium is another commonly used material for pharmaceutical packaging. It is used
as a lidding material in blister packs owing to its strong barrier and easy-to-tear
properties. It is also used to make flexible strip packs used for packing tablets. In
addition, most of the seals used in plastic or glass syrup bottles are made of aluminium
on account of their strong barrier properties against oxygen and UV light.

The other material segment primarily includes rubber and cotton. Multiple types of
rubber including natural, neoprene, nitrile, butyl, chlorobutyl, bromobutyl, and silicone
are used in pharmaceutical packaging to make closures, cap liners, and bulbs for
dropper assemblies. Rubber stopper is primarily used for multiple-dose vials and
disposable syringes.

Emerging Trends


Anti-counterfeit packaging

The emergence of counterfeiting activities has led to the imposition of bans on such
counterfeit products that can cause undesirable effects on consumers, leading to major
health concerns. From February 2019, under the Commission Delegated Regulation
(EU) 2016/161, drug makers are required to add a unique identifier and an
anti-tampering device to the packaging of most centrally authorized pharmaceutical
products. Packaging companies are increasingly focusing on the incorporation of
tamper-evident properties into the packaging to enhance their functionality and safety to
comply with strict regulations.

Utilization of Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) material

Companies are majorly focusing on the utilization of Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR)
material and are also developing packaging from compostable material to increase
sustainability. Gerresheimer AG offers glass bottles made from PCR glass. In addition,
the company is offering bottles made from R-PET and BIO-PET (resins made from
sugarcane plants). This trend of sustainable packaging is expected to significantly gain
pace in the coming years.

Demands for vaccines

Following the COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019, top biotechnology and
pharmaceutical companies are engaged in the development of vaccines for the disease.
In 2020, the demand for glass-based vials has therefore experienced a huge spike in
demand owing to the increased COVID-19 vaccine production by companies including
GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK), AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna
among others. The demand is further expected to increase in 2021 with an increasing
number of orders for vaccines from countries across the world.

Key Market Trends in India

India is the third-largest pharmaceuticals in terms of volume and
thirteenth most significant in terms of value as it has a large raw
material base and availability of a skilled workforce. According to the
India Brand Equity Foundation, India’s pharmaceutical export stood at
USD 19.13 billion in 2018-2019, reached USD 13.69 billion in
2019-2020 (till January 2020) and is expected to grow by 30% to reach
USD 20 billion by the end of 2020.

The country has one of the lowest manufacturing costs in the world,
more economical than that of the USA and almost half of Europe, it is
the largest supplier of generic medicines in the world (20% to 22%of
global export volume). It has fuelled the research and development of
efficient packing solutions for the pharmaceutical sector that
substantially prevents contamination, provides drug safety, and
convenience of delivery and handling.

Moreover, India imports 70% of APIs from China and to safeguard the
country, on March 3rd, 2020, India has restricted the export of 26
active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and medicines due to the
impact of coronavirus COVID-19 in China, that accounts 10% of all
exports from the country. This has caused a panic in European
countries as 26% of the European formulations are controlled by Indian
APIs. But the Indian government has partly lifted the restriction to
export for two drugs, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), an anti-malarial drug
considered suitable for the treatment of COVID-19, and paracetamol.
This has again increased the demand for better pharmaceutical
secondary and tertiary packaging market in India.

Product Insights

The primary product segment accounted for the largest revenue share of over 75.3% in
2020 and is likely to retain its leading position over the forecast period. Primary
packaging, such as bottles, tubes, or blister packs, directly comes in contact with the
drug and thereby envelopes the drug and protects it from contamination. In addition, it is
often involved in dispensing and dosing drug contents. Packaging companies are
focusing on the easy-to-open closures and incorporation of dispensing systems that
deliver the right dose at the right time, which can aid the elderly population in drug

Secondary pharmaceutical packaging is a consecutive covering or package, which
stores several groups of pharmaceutical packages together and protecting the packages
from external impacts. Secondary packaging is primarily used for branding & display that
plays a vital role in the marketing strategy for the product, and logistics, wherein
grouping several products together offer ease of handling.
Tertiary packaging is used for wrapping or packaging a set of products. The packaging is
used for safe handling and smooth transportation of goods. Some of the examples of
tertiary packaging include brown cardboard boxes, shrink-wraps, and plastic bags. The
increasing trend of e-pharmacy is expected to further increase the adoption of tertiary
packaging in the market over the forecast period.

End-use Insights

Pharma manufacturing is the key end-use segment that accounted for the highest share
of 50.2% in 2020 and is expected to witness strong growth from 2021 to 2028. This is
owing to the increasing demand for medicines. As per the World Health Organization
(WHO), between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population of age over 60
years will nearly double from 12% to 22%. The geriatric population requires additional
medical assistance, thereby fueling pharmaceutical manufacturing activities. This, in
turn, is likely to boost the demand for pharmaceutical packaging.

Market players in the pharmaceutical industry have increased the outsourcing of
packaging activities to save their expenses and time. Instead of investing in packaging
products, manufacturers are outsourcing packaging operations to specialized and highly
capable contractors to ensure efficient packaging. This is expected to push the demand
for contract manufacturing.
Retail pharmacies are increasingly incorporating branding activities on their packaging
to differentiate them from others. Polybags and paper pouches are the commonly used
packaging products by such retail pharmacies. The increasing penetration of retail,
especially in developing countries like India, China, and Brazil, is expected to boost the
retail pharmacy end-use segment.
Institutional pharmacies are the pharmaceutical outlets operating within the institutions,
such as medical hospitals, nursing care facilities, and assisted living communities. An
increasing number of hospitals and nursing homes and rising healthcare spending are
likely to have a positive impact on the institutional pharmacy end-use segment.


Regional Insights

North America dominated the market with a revenue share of 37.1% in 2020, wherein
pharma manufacturing, which includes in-house production, was the largest end-use
segment in the region. The 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) was signed on
December 13, 2016, in the U.S. to accelerate medical product development. The law is
expected to drive product innovations in the pharmaceutical industry, which, in turn, will
drive the demand for pharmaceutical packaging in North America.
Asia Pacific is expected to register the fastest CAGR of more than 12% from 2021 to
2028. Growing health awareness among consumers in Asia Pacific, especially in
developing countries including China and India, coupled with the rising disposable
income levels is anticipated to boost the growth of the pharmaceutical industry over the
forecast period augmenting demand for its packaging. China dominated the Asia Pacific

regional market in 2020 and will retain the leading position over the coming years owing
to increasing government initiatives, such as Healthy China 2020, growing
contract-manufacturing activities, and burgeoning aging population.
Europe is expected to have considerable growth owing to the rising research &
development activities and introduction of new medicines aimed at improving patient
health and their quality of life. Companies, such as BioNTech SE and CureVac, in
Europe, have proven success in their vaccines in 2020, which has been further
attracting investments in the biotech industry in countries, such as Germany, Russia,
and the U.K. Key Companies & Market Share Insights

The global market is highly competitive owing to the presence of numerous players
across the globe. Moreover, key players are consolidating their market positions mainly
by acquisitions, which is further intensifying the competition. Key players directly
complete with each other in securing agreements from large-sized pharmaceutical
manufacturers. Thus, the competitive rivalry in the global market is observed to be high.
Players are focusing on offering value-added services to attract a greater number of
clients. Spray painting, ultraviolet coating, and metallization are the commonly employed
processes for coloring packaging containers that are used by packaging manufacturers.
In addition, labeling and the incorporation of various anti-counterfeit packaging
measures, including overt and covert technologies, such as barcodes, holograms,
sealing tapes, and radio frequency identification devices, are often undertaken by the
packaging manufacturers. Key players are engaged in adopting growth strategies,

such as mergers & acquisitions and new product development, to expand market penetration. For instance, in June
2019, CCC Packaging, acquired Tri State Distribution, Inc., a retail pharmaceutical
packaging solutions provider. The acquisition was aimed to expand its pharmaceutical
product portfolio and the customer base.

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