The UAE pharmaceutical market is the second largest in the GCC following KSA. Governments are investing heavily in this industry and attracting more pharmaceutical manufacturers because they expect the market to reach $25.7 billion by 2028.

Smart packaging is playing an instrumental role in the further growth of the pharmaceutical industry as manufacturers are required to monitor and keep track of materials to prevent counterfeit, stolen or contaminated drugs. Therefore, the need for smart packaging is increasing. It will allow for more advanced automated logistics, ensure product quality and enhance the consumer experience, while helping the industry become more digitally enhanced.

With a growing and culturally diverse population, UAE customers want a more interactive customer experience. This also applies to product packages with new technologies such as AR. Users can view complete product details in different languages through their phone application.

Mahmoud Alyahya, general manager of Xerox Middle East, shares insights on how smart packaging will impact the pharmaceutical industry here in the UAE and wider region:

How will smart packaging impact the pharmaceutical sector?

Smart packaging is transforming the pharmaceutical industry and providing a better system to monitor package conditions at every step and pass information in real-time.
Today, end-users want more authentic, safe and intelligent products. This technology has sensors that can detect anything from temperature to humidity, check if a package was tampered with and trace the product from anywhere around the world. For the pharmaceutical industry, smart packaging ensures quality and safety of the products. Similarly, this ensures that the global shipping process is transparent and controlled.

As the pharmaceutical industry is one where the quality and the safety of a product directly affects the health of the population, it is essential to eliminate the possibility of counterfeit products. High-value products such as medications have long been targeted, and in turn, the manufacturer and consumers have suffered the consequences. By adding smart packaging technologies, we have the power to track and trace the product throughout the entire journey. This is a real-time automated process that flags any discrepancies immediately along the supply chain.

Discuss how smart packaging will further enhance the customer experience.

Smart packaging provides customers with a connected experience. To make purchasing decisions and understand a product’s intended use, clients try to piece information together from labels, packages and traditional retail displays and the pharmaceuticals industry is no different. While some of us may read the fine print or visit the brand’s website to learn more, many of us buy what is familiar or perhaps on sale. We assume we know how to use a product based on what we’ve done in the past.

Smart labels and tags enable doctors and pharmacists to engage their customers and partners. They can explore applications ranging from personalised packages to supply chain monitoring, followed by validating the value proposition before moving to commercialization.

Discuss how AI and AR technologies can boost smart packaging.

Customers expect to have an interactive experience with products. Similarly, they want all the information required in real-time. Smart packaging paired with Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence is capable of delivering such market demands. For example, AR allows user to access a wealth of information through an application on their phone. This also enables the industry to become more environment-friendly by using less paper.