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Enhancing Pharmaceutical Packaging through a Technology Ecosystem to Facilitate the Reuse of Medicines and Reduce Medicinal Waste

1
Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AY, UK
2
School of Pharmacy, University of Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AP, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pharmacy 2020, 8(2), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy8020058
Received: 6 March 2020 / Revised: 25 March 2020 / Accepted: 27 March 2020 / Published: 31 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medicines Reuse)
Background: The idea of reusing dispensed medicines is appealing to the general public provided its benefits are illustrated, its risks minimized, and the logistics resolved. For example, medicine reuse could help reduce medicinal waste, protect the environment and improve public health. However, the associated technologies and legislation facilitating medicine reuse are generally not available. The availability of suitable technologies could arguably help shape stakeholders’ beliefs and in turn, uptake of a future medicine reuse scheme by tackling the risks and facilitating the practicalities. A literature survey is undertaken to lay down the groundwork for implementing technologies on and around pharmaceutical packaging in order to meet stakeholders’ previously expressed misgivings about medicine reuse (’stakeholder requirements’), and propose a novel ecosystem for, in effect, reusing returned medicines. Methods: A structured literature search examining the application of existing technologies on pharmaceutical packaging to enable medicine reuse was conducted and presented as a narrative review. Results: Reviewed technologies are classified according to different stakeholders’ requirements, and a novel ecosystem from a technology perspective is suggested as a solution to reusing medicines. Conclusion: Active sensing technologies applying to pharmaceutical packaging using printed electronics enlist medicines to be part of the Internet of Things network. Validating the quality and safety of returned medicines through this network seems to be the most effective way for reusing medicines and the correct application of technologies may be the key enabler. View Full-Text
Keywords: reuse of medicines; reduce medicinal waste; intelligent pharmaceutical packaging; medicine re-dispensing; theory of planned behavior reuse of medicines; reduce medicinal waste; intelligent pharmaceutical packaging; medicine re-dispensing; theory of planned behavior
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hui, T.K.L.; Mohammed, B.; Donyai, P.; McCrindle, R.; Sherratt, R.S. Enhancing Pharmaceutical Packaging through a Technology Ecosystem to Facilitate the Reuse of Medicines and Reduce Medicinal Waste. Pharmacy 2020, 8, 58.

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