On October 24, President Trump signed into law the Support for Patients and Communities Act. This law will boost access to addiction treatment and includes many other interventions to mitigate the opioid epidemic, from law enforcement efforts against illicit drugs to combating the overprescription of opioids. For the latter effort, the law formally recognizes unit dose packaging, such as “blister packs” as mentioned by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottleib* and Senator Lamar Alexander in their discussions on the subject. Unit dose packaging can be used to supply initial pain treatment to patients only requiring short term use, limiting the supply to a maximum of seven days to mitigate overuse, which can lead to addiction in some patients in only a few days, and excess supply, which can be diverted and abused by non-patients.
The HCPC applauds the efforts of Congress and the FDA to formally recognize proper pharmaceutical packaging as an essential tool in ensuring the safety of patients and their families. For more information on the bill, or to view the text on unit dose packaging, visit Support for Patients and Communities Act and look for Chapter 4, Section 3032.
*To see FDA Commissioner Gottlieb’s comments on the use of blisters, listen to his keynote presentation at the October 18 Politico Live event, https://www.politico.com/live-events/2018/10/18/a-tale-of-two-crises-using-tech-and-innovation-to-combat-opioid-abuse-and-diabetes-837728 – His comments on unit of use / blister packaging begins at ~5:45 and he again reiterates the point that the FDA wants to begin the “early implementation of unit dose packaging for the immediate release formulation of drugs, like blister packs . . . we’re going to mandate that the companies make this available.” Then, Dr. Gottlieb reiterates the fact that the FDA is looking to marry evidence based guidelines with blister packs for proper prescribing at 17:24.
For more information on the new law and how blister packs will help stem the opioid crisis, visit
Smaller Opioid Pill Packs Top FDA Priority in Opioids Bill
The Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council (HCPC) is a not-for-profit trade association established in 1990 to promote the many benefits of unit dose packaging — especially the fact that these formats can be designed with compliance-prompting features proven to help people take their medications properly.
The HCPC is saddened to learn that our friend Jim Butschli passed away recently. Jim was a fantastic packaging editor who always took the extra time to learn about packaging products and the issues. He was a joy to work with and know. For many years he was a volunteer judge on the HCPC Compliance Package of the Year awards, using his extensive industry knowledge to thoroughly review each entry. He will be sorely missed. We offer our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and co-workers.
Rest in peace, Jim.
Nov. 2017 study published in American Journal of Managed Care states calendared blister packaging provided an inexpensive method for improving cholesterol medication adherence.