The industry celebrated Sterile Packaging Day for the third consecutive year on February 8. The Sterilization Packaging Manufacturers Council (SPMC®) founded the event to recognize the collaboration throughout the sterile packaging supply chain in delivering safe and sterilized medical devices and supplies to healthcare professionals.
This year, SPMC® chose the theme of “Designed to Protect” to honor medical packaging engineers.
“Packaging engineers possess a unique skill set that is challenged and refined through experience,” says SPMC® Marketing Chair Kathleen Mascolo, who is vice president and director of sales and marketing at Beacon Converters, Inc. “Their knowledge, understanding, and ability to innovate are continually being tested as the medical and pharmaceutical fields advance and grow.”
MD&M West hosted an in-person Sterile Packaging Day celebration, with SPMC® members holding their first LinkedIn Live event.
Broadcasting from the Informa and SPMC® Blood Drive at the Anaheim Convention Center, Brandon Fisher, director of sales at PPC Flexible Packaging; Anna Johnson, sales and marketing specialist at Beacon Converters, Inc.; and Mascolo all shared details about Sterile Packaging Day and the blood drive.
Their efforts, coupled with the central location of the drive, helped the American Red Cross collect 24 units of blood, exceeding a goal of 22 units. The Red Cross estimated that this one event could impact up to 72 patients in need of blood.
SPMC® encouraged other organizations and communities to organize blood drives in honor of Sterile Packaging Day. It is estimated that every eight minutes, the Red Cross responds to an emergency, and there is an ongoing urgent need for blood and platelet donors.
Packaging Engineers Amplify Theme
As part of Sterile Packaging Day’s “industry voices” social media and website campaign, SPMC® representatives reached out to packaging engineers and asked them to share their thoughts on what “Designed to Protect” meant to them. Unanimously, participating engineers agreed the theme aptly described their daily mission.
Strength of the Industry
The packaging engineers also applauded the strength and commitment of the entire industry to the “Designed to Protect” initiative.
“From ideation to development, validation to manufacturing, and supply chain to end-user experience, ‘Designed to Protect’ influences all phases of the packaging continuum,” says Ondrea Kassarjian, Ph.D., senior manager for global packaging at Hollister Incorporated.
Jordan Montgomery, a distinguished engineer and technical fellow with Medtronic Package Engineering, points to the physical challenges packaging engineers must contend with to retain sterility.
“‘Designed to Protect’ describes the ideal sterile package meeting the inputs of physical protection from the harsh conditions of sterilization, shipping, and storage,” Montgomery says.
Across the board, packaging engineers agreed their work allows doctors, nurses, and increasingly patients themselves to deliver lifesaving care.
“‘Designed to Protect’ is the foundation on which end-user confidence is built,” says Travis Cary, product development engineer for Printpack Medical. “It is our job … to ensure that we are providing robust, unfaltering packaging systems that enable the end users to save lives.”
SPMC® is making plans for Sterile Packaging Day 2024, which will be celebrated on Wednesday, February 7. Additional details will be available soon.
Lourdes Pogue is partner and creative director at Merakke. Reach her at email@example.com.