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Healthcare Packaging Solutions

Nelipak Healthcare Packaging

June 2019 - December 2020

Trikafta Packaging Experience Enhancement

Proposal for an improvement to an existing packaging design for a new medication. This proposal makes taking this new medication easier for a wider variety of lifestyles.

What is Trikafta?

Trikafta is a breakthrough prescription medicine used for the treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF) in patients aged 12 years and older who have at least one copy of the F508del mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regular (CFTR) gene.

How is it taken?

The treatment regiment consists of three tablets per day: two in the morning and one at night. Because the morning dose and the nighttime dose consist of different medication quantities, it is crucial that the correct pills are taken at the correct time.



The tablets must be taken 12 hours apart and with fat-containing foods in order to work properly. Individuals who are new to the medication must be educated how vital it is that this medication is taken correctly.

Existing Packaging

Allowing for relatively easy dosage identification and visibility, the existing Trikafta packaging uses a blister-pack design integrated into a card stock wallet. To aid in identification, each dose is color-coded both on the packaging and on the tablets themselves.

The wallets are designed to stay in tact as one unit, however the wallet if fairly large to carry around so many users cut the packaging into smaller pieces so the tablets are more portable. This is discouraged as the blister compartments may be punctured, leading to early expiration or contamination. In addition, vital drug information would not be displayed in it's entirety.

The construction of each wallet consists of two card stock layers sandwiching a thermoformed blister-pack sheet and a heat-sealed aluminum foil backing. The blister-pack sheet is an industry standardized part that is cheap to produce and has already been proven for years.

Boxes are designed to hold four weeks of doses. In addition to the four wallets, each box contains a tightly folded drug information pamphlet.

User Insights

In order to understand if the existing packaging needed to be improved and if so, what improvements needed to be made, questionnaires were sent out to CF patients on Trikafta about their experiences.

User Satisfaction with Current Trikafta Packaging

Not Satisfied


It was found that over 80% were not satisfied with the current packaging and wished there were some improvements to make life easier. 


Thinking in terms of portability and cost savings, ideation progressed towards a concept incorporating tear-away strips containing one full day's dose of medication. Many forms were considered and factoring in cost savings, the most efficient option would be to update the current form factor with minor variations to keep re-tooling costs relatively low.

Digital Design Mock-Up

Building on the existing configuration, design improvements were made to the functionality of the packaging in order to increase accessibility and portability.

Using tearable strips allows daily doses to be separated and carried with the user. Each strip includes necessary drug information such as the names of the three major components, expiration date, and lot number.

Taking into account die tolerances and material requirements, the dimensions were calculated and optimized for the smallest possible design while retaining rigidity and protection. Adjustments were made to allow for location of parts during assembly.

Physical Prototype

After the graphical layout and all of the cuts and perf-cuts were planned, a physical prototype could be make to test functionality. 

In order to maintain familiarity, the order of operations carried over into the new design. Major improvements to the ease of use were made. Each strip tears away with ease and is brightly colored for high visibility. Each strip is pocket-sized and includes a grip-tab on top.

Cutouts were added on the back of each strip, utilizing only the foil for retention of each tablet. This provides adequate protection while allowing for easy access to each dose. Through testing, the foil without a backing proved to be easier to remove tablets from than the one with.

In addition, the overall size of each wallet as well as the box were reduced, improving shipping costs and increasing portability of the assembly as a whole.

Sterile Venous Catheter Tray

Sealed packaging for multiple components used to deliver medication intravenously.

Concept Sketching

In initial conversations with the client, it was determined that a pouched tray with no lid was needed. Due to this constraint, it was necessary to design in snap features to adequately contain the delicate and flexible components in place without a lid. Concept sketches (some of which were done live with the client) provided them with visualizations of possible design solutions.

CAD Modeling

Using precise measurements from the components, geometry was created to contain all devices and allow for easy removal while maintaining a snapped fit.

From this CAD model, a mold surface was created to produce prototype samples. Thermoforming design constrains were considered and played a large part in the geometry of the mold.


Once the CAD models and drawings were approved, prototype samples were created to test part fit and formability. As this tray does not have a tyvek or thermoformed lid, it was essential that the snap features hold the parts firmly in place.


After the design was proven through rigorous quality control tests, mass production began.Manufactured trays were shipped to the client where they were loaded with the implements and are now in operating rooms and emergency rooms worldwide.