Single Dose Packaging and its Advantages

Historically, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics manufacturers shipped products in multi-dose packaging. For example, they sent large vials of injectables to hospitals that would then partition them into individual patient doses. 

Now, though, single-dose packaging promises to put an end to this. Here, manufacturers apportion each dose to its own discrete packaging. Practitioners and patients then open doses individually, without unsealing the rest of the batch.

Single dose packaging often comes in the form of plastic vials arranged next to each other, separable via perforated plastic tabs. To use the vial, the patient, customer or medical practitioner removes the stopper from the orifice and then squeezes the vial to eject the liquid from the nozzle. Users then dispose of the vial, or replace the stopper, keeping the product inside fresh. 

To outside observers, the move from multi-dose to single-dose packaging might seem insignificant. However, the impact that it is having (and will continue to have) in the medical and cosmetics sectors is spectacular. Also called unit dose packaging, it offers a host of advantages for both patients and healthcare professionals. 

The Advantages Of Single Dose Packaging

In this post, we discuss why single dose packaging is becoming the new standard and why the industry is now moving strongly in its direction. Read on to learn more. 

It Eliminates The Need To Measure Doses

According to the British Medical Journal, patients and healthcare practitioners make more than 237 million medication errors every year in England, costing more than £98 million and 1,700 lives annually. While there are several sources of mistakes (such as providing the wrong medication), 54 percent are made at the point of administration.

The move to single dose packaging could potentially solve this problem because it removes human error from dispensing. Medical professionals and patients simply administer the unit dose in the packaging, negating the need to measure by hand. As such, inaccurate (and dangerous) dosing could become a thing of the past. 

It Makes Medication Easier To Monitor

When medication comes in large vials, jars or tubs, it can be hard for medical staff to monitor patient intake. Failing to record drug administration is a common cause of excessive medication and overdose. 

Individually parcelled and barcoded medicines, however, get around this problem. The single dose format is easily monitored by staff, both visually and via digital medicine inventory tracking platforms. 

It Reduces Waste

Under a multi-dose packaging scheme, patients often end up using entire tubs or boxes of drugs, even if they don’t need all the doses, leading to waste. Therefore, single dose packaging may help to protect the environment. Medical professionals can provide patients with only the doses they need, cutting down on excessive medication production. Furthermore, they can use any leftover medications from the batch on other patients, without worrying about cross-contamination. 

It Is More Hygienic

Once opened, medical packaging quickly becomes less hygienic. In the past, medical professionals had to conduct time-consuming audits to ensure that drugs were still suitable for patients. If they failed to meet the grade, they had no choice but to throw them out, even if there were doses remaining. 

Single unit packaging eliminates this inefficiency by dealing with the hygiene issue head-on. Because manufacturers hermetically seal each unit of medication at the source, degradation only begins when the patient or medical practitioner opens the packaging. Doses, therefore, remain viable, even if users open the rest of the batch. 

It Costs Patients Less

While single dose packaging is more sophisticated (and therefore more expensive) than multi-dose packaging, in many situations, it actually costs patients less. Typically, patients must buy an entire batch of medications and then become the exclusive user of them. However, with single dose packaging, they only get the drugs they need. Overall, this may lead to lower patient costs. 

Types Of Single And Unit Dose Packaging

Vials are one single dose packaging option, but there are many others. In fact, single dose packaging’s benefits could extend well beyond the medical industry into other sectors, such as beverage, household cleaners, food manufacturing, supplements industry, and more.Here are some examples of single dose packaging options currently available on the market: 

Many individuals and healthcare providers are wary of single dose packaging because they are used to the idea of buying in bulk. It’s important to note that single dose packaging does not prevent this. It simply stores medications in discrete units, ready for patients you use. Hospitals, for instance, are still free to buy the same quantities of medication as before, even if they order them in the form of individually-filled vials, pods, tubes or ampoules. 

Other industries can also buy single dose packaging in bulk. Coffee counters, for instance, can buy individual servings of coffee in pods they insert into machines. Likewise, cosmetics brands can quickly package individual squeezy tubes of skincare formulations, pre-filled with the optimal quantity for customers. 


While single use packaging is slightly more expensive than traditional multi-use options, the advantages generally far outweigh the costs. Patients and medical practitioners can reduce the likelihood of dosing errors, more easily monitor medication, and improve hygiene. Furthermore, on an individual patient level, there may be opportunities to save money by only buying the drugs they need.