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Glass in the pharmaceutical sector: why is it used?

Glass: the perfect material for the packaging and storage of medicines

Glass is a unique material with uncommon properties; in particular, its chemical stability and inertness make it ideal for the packaging and storage of drugs. Furthermore, glass is also ideal for resisting the most stressful processes, such as sterilization or freezing, which some drugs undergo.

Glass is also impermeable to liquids and gases and this makes it suitable for the storage of drugs because it prevents the passage of bacteria and therefore storage is totally hygienic even for prolonged times.

Glass for drugs: characteristics

There are mainly two types of pharmaceutical glass: clear white and amber yellow.

The amber glass is suitable for all those photosensitive drugs, as it allows only a reduced passage of light.

In general, glass for pharmaceuticals is classified into:

Type I (Neutral): This glass is ideal for holding liquid injectable drugs

Type II (Sodium-Calcium): in this case the glass undergoes a heat treatment to make it even more stable and to be able to contain Infusion Solutions at a maximum pH of 7. The treatment based on Ammonium Sulphate is carried out only in the part that will go into contact with the drug (generally, therefore, the inside of the tube).

Type III: type III glass is used for solid or liquid drugs, both for oral and injectable use, or even for powdered antibiotics.

Hollow Glass: the market

Glass for medicines is part of the “hollow glass” category, which includes the production of glass packaging and bottles (pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food). According to 2018 data, bottle production achieved good results: exports rose by 3% and, at the same time, imports fell by 4%.

The hollow glass sector, overall, reached a production of 4.287.283 tons in 2018.

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