York, PA-based HR® Pharmaceuticals has a rich legacy as a leading supplier of personal care, consumer and medical supply products. The company’s mission is to consistently deliver superior product quality, extraordinary product performance and innovative ideas and products.
According to Jim Pilsner, director of marketing at HR® Pharmaceuticals, “We looked closely at the ultrasound gel market and found there was a lot of product waste and a void in the eco-friendly space that we could own. We also started hearing from our health system customers about their wide-ranging green and sustainability initiatives, and thought we could develop a best-in-class gel with innovative packaging that could be more sustainable, easier to use and more cost-effective.”
Pilsner said the HR® Pharmaceuticals operations team and senior management team searched for packaging companies with the capabilities they needed. They chose Glenroy upon the recommendation from multiple people in the industry and after having seen them at trade shows in the past.
“Glenroy has been great to work with,” said Pilsner. “They are innovative, hands on and were a valued partner working closely with our manufacturing and logistics people.” The HR® Pharmaceuticals team had a clear vision of what they wanted for their packaging. They determined the package should be 250 ML (about 8.5 ounces) and ergonomically pleasing to hold and use. In addition, it couldn’t leak and needed to help hospitals and medical practices to meet their sustainability goals.
After two years of research and development for the product formulation, clinical trials, regulation compliance and new packaging design, EcoVue® ultrasound gel was introduced in 2018. Patents have been obtained for both the product and the packaging.
It is a superior product unlike anything else on the market. EcoVue® gel is made from 99% naturally fermented ingredients, is biodegradable, free of paraben and propylene glycol that are used in many gels and compliant with California Prop 65 (Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986).
The innovative, flexible EcoVue® FlexPac® packaging features custom flexible packaging film for the spouted pouch with many benefits to the consumer and society overall. It is easy to hold and easy to use, but it’s also lightweight and requires less energy to manufacture and transport. Much less CO2 is emitted during its manufacture, and the need for pallets in shipping and warehousing is reduced by 94%.
The three-layered film structure manufactured by Glenroy provides a strong barrier to moisture and oxygen to protect the gel product inside. The adhesive laminated multi-layer structure includes a 0.75 mil matte polypropylene (OPP) film, ink, adhesive, a 0.60 mil nylon layer, adhesive and a 4 mil white linear low density PE (LLDPE) coex film. The matte polypropylene layer provides a matte finish (non-glare appearance) and soft feel, while the nylon acts as a strength layer. The LLDPE coex is a sealant layer. The EcoVue® FlexPac® packaging features vibrant reverse printed customized graphics.
Unlike typical plastic bottles, which can waste about 14% of the gel left on the bottom, this flexible package design allows for up to 99.5% evacuation of the product, reducing the number of units consumed each year. As a result, 1.5 million fewer containers will end up in landfills, and 800,000 less pounds of gel will be landfilled. The total savings each year for the industry due to reduced waste is almost $1.9 million. The packaging is also lighter than plastic bottles that are typically used for these types of gels, reducing the amount fuel needed to transport and dispose of the packaging. As an added but important benefit, the packaging from Glenroy is less expensive too, allowing HR® Pharmaceuticals to pass along a 3-5% savings on the packaging to its customers.
Pilsner said, “We are receiving positive feedback from just about everyone about the product and its packaging. Almost all of the large health systems have green initiatives, and we have become a natural fit to help them to comply with and meet their goals for sourcing.“
Customers also find the product lasts longer because almost 100% of the product is used, and waste is minimized. The package also fits better in the hand and is easier to squeeze. Also, leakage is virtually zero because of a leakproof closure and the strength of the packaging film. As a result, the amount of complaints and returns has gone down.
“People also like the fact that it’s 100% manufactured in the United States, and the product is approved for use in the United States and Canada, as well as in Europe, Asia, Central and South America,” said Pilsner. “We believe EcoVue® ultrasound gel is best in class both in terms of its formulation and packaging, and nothing else is even close.”