Materials & Packaging

Optimal packaging design protects our products in a compliant manner and meets or exceeds customer needs with the minimum possible environmental impact.

Our approach

The packaging we use for our finished products serves a range of important purposes; the foremost purpose is to protect the purity, efficacy and physical integrity of the product. Packaging also provides the customer with information and convenience, the pharmacist or provider with accurate dispensing information at the point of purchase, and our business with marketing value. For some products, packaging also serves safety functions such as child resistance and tampering evidence.

In addition to these critical functions that packaging must perform, there is the consideration of the environmental impact of the materials we use. After it has served its critical function(s), packaging becomes our customer’s waste, and therefore we must take this into account in our designs.

We continue to monitor global trends around material use such as the New Plastics Economy, and around how we might incorporate “circular economy” concepts into the critical functions of packaging for pharmaceuticals. It is unclear how these trends will ultimately impact our mission to deliver medicines, However, these are important signals of a changing external approach to the use and recovery of specific materials like fiber-based products, plastics such as PVC, metals and others.


Packaging and design is managed by the Global Pharmaceutical Commercialization area of the company and with oversight from the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Council.

Materials and packaging
100 percent of the packaging for our new human health products will be reviewed for environmental impact and improvement.
100% of products launched in 2019


We have adopted “Design for Environment” guidelines that help our engineers design new product packages that are better for the environment by minimizing package sizes and using more environmentally friendly materials, where possible.

We have set a target to review all of our new human health packaging designs prior to launch to understand and minimize environmental impacts as much as possible, while still providing adequate protection of our products.

To help us evaluate the differences in environmental impacts between packaging options, we use a simplified life-cycle assessment (LCA) tool that provides information on the environmental impacts generated by the materials used in our packaging. The tool helps us to make informed decisions as to which materials are better for the environment.

Solvent use

Solvents play a key role in the manufacturing of our products, as well as in equipment cleaning. Because of their significance to our business and the life-cycle impact they represent, we focus on designing our processes to minimize or avoid their use where practical. Where we do use solvents, we maximize efficiency, and control them in our emissions, effluents and waste.

We have an active Green & Sustainable Science program to design our new processes using fewer solvents and other hazardous materials, and to reuse and recycle more of the solvents we do use.

For cleaning our manufacturing equipment, we use water-based methods where they are as effective as solvents. At each of our manufacturing sites, we have engineers who are responsible for identifying and driving process-improvement projects. When it is not practical to reuse regenerated solvents in our own production processes, we either work with suppliers who recover the spent solvents for resale to other industries, or safely burn them as a source of energy. Any used solvents that leave our site as hazardous waste are managed at offsite facilities that are on our list of approved waste management sites.

Chemical management

A comprehensive and effective chemical management program is critical to the safety and protection of our employees, the communities in which we operate and the environment.

We have put procedures, systems and processes in place to manage the approval, procurement, inventory, receipt, transfer, storage, use and disposal of chemicals at all of our sites. We provide our employees and others with information about the identities and potential hazards of the chemicals in our operations and final products through proper labeling of chemicals and the creation of safety data sheets.