Sterilization packaging is a complex segment of the flexible packaging industry that is highly regulated and requires specific technical expertise. Since its founding, the Sterilization Packaging Manufacturers Council (SPMC®) has been a trusted source of technical information and guidance for packaging professionals and engineers.
The council works with standard-setting organizations in the development of test methods and guidance documents for the sterilizable flexible packaging of medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Some of these organizations include the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation® (AAMI), ASTM International, and the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP).
SPMC® also is committed to educational opportunities for those entering or considering a career in medical packaging. Recently, SPMC® sponsored the Fundamentals of Medical Device Packaging, an in-person course developed by IoPP’s Medical Device Packaging Technical Committee (MDPTC). The course’s three half-day sessions totaling 13.5 hours were held from October 24 to October 26 at McCormick Place in Chicago during PACK EXPO International 2022. Attendees earned 11 Continuing Professional Education credit points, which could be applied toward the requirements for IoPP’s Certified Packaging Professional program.
Nearly 40 professionals serving on IoPP’s MDPTC volunteered their time and expertise to develop the course’s content, which included guidance on materials used for sterile barrier packaging; designing sterile barrier systems; manufacturing packaging for sterile medical devices; qualifying equipment and validating processes; sterilization of medical devices for packaging engineers; regulations, standards, and quality systems for medical device packaging; risk analysis and design assurance; and corrective and preventive actions, troubleshooting, and remediation strategies.
For SPMC®, the in-person aspect of this learning experience was especially meaningful.
“Young engineers and other packaging professionals who began their careers during the pandemic didn’t have physical access to on-site sterile packaging lines and equipment, colleagues, or customers,” explains Don Alip, director of product excellence, healthcare for Amcor Flexibles, and chair of SPMC®’s marketing committee. “They had to learn and experience our industry virtually.
“The Fundamentals of Medical Device Packaging course afforded many of these individuals an opportunity to physically be together … learning and interacting with subject matter experts, viewing technology up close, and experiencing hands-on work. For SPMC®, it was extremely gratifying to support this technical and professional growth experience.”
Dhuanne Dodrill, CEO of PAXXUS, Inc., was one of 14 presenters at the Fundamentals of Medical Device Packaging course, who were all vetted and selected by IoPP’s MDPTC. She currently serves as SPMC® chair and has been instrumental in advancing collaborative and educational opportunities within the industry.
Following on the heels of the in-person course at PACK EXPO, SPMC® is eyeing other in-person educational opportunities for medical packaging’s next generation. As one of the sponsors of MD&M Minneapolis from November 2 to November 3, SPMC® will host a learning session on the storage conditions of medical device packaging. Plans are also in the works for the addition of an in-person educational component for 2023’s Sterile Packaging Day to be held February 8 at MD&M West in Anaheim, California.
Lourdes Pogue is partner and creative director at Merakke. Reach her at email@example.com.