Patent application title: Package for Dispensing Individual Portions
Thomas D. Intini (Brossard, CA)
IPC8 Class: AB65D8304FI
Class name: Special receptacle or package for ampule, capsule, pellet, or granule with rupture means for access
Publication date: 2008-12-18
Patent application number: 20080308449
A container which comprises an upper wall panel, a bottom wall panel, and
first and second sidewalls, a cover panel connected to a side marginal
edge of one of the sidewalls, and a blister pack forming a portion of the
upper wall panel, the blister pack comprising a blister layer having a
plurality of pockets formed therein with a foil layer overlying the
blister pockets, and a paperboard layer secured thereto with a plurality
of tear strips formed in the paperboard layer.
1. A container comprising:an upper wall panel;a bottom wall panel;first
and second sidewalls extending outwardly from opposed sides of said
bottom wall panel, said upper wall panel being connected to a side
marginal edge of said first sidewall;a cover panel connected to a side
marginal edge of said second sidewall; anda blister pack forming a
portion of said upper wall panel therein, said blister pack comprising a
blister layer having a plurality of pockets formed therein, a foil layer
overlying said blister pockets, and a paperboard layer secured thereto,
and a plurality of tear strips formed in said paperboard layer.
2. The container of claim 1 wherein said upper wall panel and said bottom wall panel are secured together, said blister pack being defined by score lines on either side thereof such that said blister pack can be hingedly separated from said upper wall panel to provide access to said blister layer.
3. The container of claim 1 further including end walls extending between said upper wall and said lower wall.
4. The container of claim 1 wherein each of said tear strips has a tab member formed at one end thereof.
5. The container of claim 1 wherein said upper panel comprises a paperboard layer, said paperboard layer having at least one line of weakening extending into said layer, said at least one line of weakening mean located in a portion overlying said blister pocket, said at least one line of weakening extending into said board for only a portion of the thickness of said board.
6. The container of claim 4 wherein said at least one line of weakening extends into said board for a distance of between 10% to 40% of the thickness of said paperboard.
7. The package of claim 4 wherein said tear strip has a tab formed at one end thereof, said tab being defined by a cut extending through said paperboard layer, said tab portion not being adhered to said blister.
8. The container of claim 4 wherein said tear strip is defined by a line of weakening extending thereabout, said tear strip line of weakening extending into said board from a second side thereof for a distance of between 10% to 40% the thickness of said paperboard.
9. The container of claim 1 wherein said panel is formed of a paperboard material, said paperboard material being adhered to said blister layer, said tear strips being adhered to said blister about the periphery of said tear strips, and a tab member connected to said tear strip at one end thereof.
10. A blank for forming a container, said blank comprising:a central panel having first and second side marginal edges and first and second end marginal edges;a sidewall section hingedly connected to said first and second side marginal edges of said central panel, a second panel connected to a marginal edge of one of said sidewall sections;said second panel having a central area laminated by a line of weakening;a third panel hingedly connected to a second one of said sidewall sections; andsaid second panel having a plurality of tear strips formed in said central section.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to packaging and more particularly, relates to the packaging of medicants.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The packaging of medicants is well known in the art and many different types of packaging are employed. Such packaging generally ranges from situations wherein the pills, tablets, capsules or the like are placed in a bulk container to situations wherein they are individually packaged.
In the case where the medicants are dispensed in bulk, a container having a child resistant cap is provided. In the instance wherein the medicants are individually dispensed, normally a blister pack is utilized.
Recently, the use of bulk packaging is being discouraged. This results from the understanding that packaging for medicants should have several properties. The first property is that the package should be tamper evident such that there will be a clear indication when the package has been subject to tampering. A second feature is that the package also be child resistant. Thus, it is obviously desirable that the package prevents young children from accessing the contents thereof. However, in making the package child resistant, it is also important that the package still be readily openable by those taking the medication. Since the most frequent users of medication are seniors, one must take into account the limits of their ability particularly when they are suffering from various physical problems.
A still further property is that the packaging should be compliance friendly. Recently, studies have indicated that one of the unrecognized problems is that patients do not necessarily take their medications as prescribed by the doctor. The reasons for this are not fully understood but studies have indicated that packaging plays a large role. To this end, more and more pharmaceutical companies are being encouraged to use individual packaging of the medicant whereby instructions can be clearly printed on the package. It is being found that, particularly among seniors, such type of packaging ensures greater compliance with the taking of the medication.
As above mentioned, one of the more common means of packaging individual pills, capsules, tablets or the like is the use of a blister package. Such a blister package usually comprises a laminate of a blister layer having article receiving pockets formed therein and with the article receiving pockets being covered by a blister backing layer. This blister backing layer is usually an aluminum material which is rupturable to permit access to the product in the blister pocket. While such packages are inherently tamper evident, they are not very child resistant and indeed can prove attractive to some children since it appears to be a natural curiosity of children to play with such types of packages.
A further problem with the conventional blister package is that there is limited space for printing and instructions.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is an object of the present invention to provide packaging for medicants and which packaging is tamper evident, senior friendly, child resistant and compliance friendly.
According to one aspect to the present invention, there is provided a container comprising an upper wall panel, a bottom wall panel, first and second sidewalls extending outwardly from opposed sides of the bottom wall panel, the upper wall panel being connected to a side marginal edge of the first sidewall, a cover panel connected to a side marginal edge of the second sidewalls, a blister pack forming a portion of the upper wall panel therein, the blister pack comprising a blister layer having a plurality of pockets formed therein, a foil layer overlying the blister pockets, and a paperboard layer secured thereto, and a plurality of tear strips formed in the paperboard layer.
According to a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided a blank for forming a container, the blank comprising, a central panel having first and second side marginal edges and first and second end marginal edges, a sidewall section hingedly connected to the first and second side marginal edges of the central panel, a second panel connected to a marginal edge of one of the sidewall sections, the second panel having a central area laminated by a line of weakening, a third panel hingedly connected to a second one of the sidewall sections and the second panel having a plurality of tear strips formed in the central section.
The packaging of the present invention forms a package which is both attractive and readily portable. It can be formed from a single blank of paperboard and can readily be machine assembled.
The cover provides an additional protection to the tear strips as they are not readily visible.
The arrangement of the tear strip over the blister pocket provides the degree of child resistance required while still being senior friendly. Preferably, the arrangement includes a rupturable blister layer sealed to a backside of the blister sheet to form a continuous cover over the blister pocket with the blister layer having a thickness and being formed of a material which can be ruptured to provide access to the pocket.
There is also provided a reinforcing layer of a paperboard material which has a first side with some portions adhered to the blister layer and the some of the adhered portions being in registry with the blister pockets. The paperboard layer also will have a line of weakening extending from the first side into the board, the line of weakening being located in a portion overlying the blister pocket and a line of weakening extending into the board for only a portion of the thickness of the board with a tear strip formed in the reinforcing layer, the tear strip being associated with the blister pocket such that the reinforcing layer will delaminate when the tear strip is pulled.
In a further arrangement, the tear strips are adhered to the blister about the periphery of the tear strip, with a tab member connected to the tear strip at one end thereof, the arrangement being such that when the tab and tear strips are removed, the blister can be ruptured adjacent to the depression and the blister removed.
In a still further arrangement, the reinforcing layer of paperboard material has a first side with at least portions thereof adhered to the blister layer and a tear strip formed in the paperboard layer. The tear strip overlies the blister pocket with the tear strip having a first tab at one end being connected to the tear strip and a second tab at a second end being separated from the tear strip by a cut through the paperboard layer. Each of the tabs are not adhered to the blister layer and the blister layer has a gripping portion to enable grasping thereof such that it may be removed to gain access to the contents of the blister pocket.
In the first arrangement set forth above, the delamination of the paperboard and the ability to push the product from the pocket is controlled by providing a line of weakening formed in the paperboard on the face which is adjacent to the blister. This line of weakening permits the product to be dispensed from the blister pocket with less effort than would otherwise be the case to thereby render the same a senior friendly package. At the same time, the line of weakening is not evident to a child since it does not extend through that portion of the paperboard which remains covering the blister pocket.
In the second arrangement, the tear strip is interconnected to a tab and which tab is designed to be lifted to pull the paperboard layer from the back of the blister. In this regard, the paperboard is only adhered to the blister about the periphery of the blister pocket. Thus, after removal of the paperboard layer, the blister may be removed by pushing the blister in the area of a depression formed in the blister layer. This permits removal of the blister with less effort than would otherwise be the case.
The contents in the blister pocket are conventionally tablets or capsules or the like. However, as will be shown in the description of the preferred embodiments, the package of the present invention can be utilized with liquids and the like.
The materials utilized in the present invention are well known in the art. Thus, the blister layer may be formed with a number of blister pockets projecting from a front side thereof, each designed to receive a unit dosage of a pharmaceutical product or indeed, some other product. The sheet may comprise a normally rectangular continuous blister sheet of a flexible clear material which cannot be easily torn or ruptured. Typically, such a film would be a vinyl thermoplastic film having a thickness in excess of 10 ml.
The rupturable film sealed to the back side of the blister sheet is also well known in the art and may be selected from many known materials. Typically, such rupturable blisters are of aluminum material having a thickness in the range of 1 mil and which may be joined to the blister sheet by conventional adhesives such as heat seals or coatings well known in the art.
In those applications wherein a paper layer is utilized, it again may use a heat sealable adhesive and comprise paper having a weight of between 13 pounds to 17 pounds.
The reinforcing layer is preferably a paper product such paperboard. The tear strips in the paperboard layer may be defined by parallel lines of perforations or slits in the outwardly facing side to thereby form longitudinal tear lines which define the tear strip. At one end of the strip, there may be a tab which is not sealed to the blister layer.
In the first embodiment of the present invention, the line of weakening defining the tab may extend into the paperboard for a depth of preferably between 10 and 40% of the thickness of the paperboard and more preferably, approximately 30% of the thickness.
Where the tab joins the tear strip, there is preferably a cut from the inner facing side of the paperboard which extends between 60 and 90% of the thickness of the paperboard.
In the above described embodiment, there is also provided a line of weakening which is cut into the paperboard from the inner side thereof at the position where the capsule will be ejected from the blister pocket. This line of weakening assists in dispensing of the product and may extend into the paperboard for a distance of between 10 and 40% of the thickness thereof.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Having thus generally described the invention, reference will be made to the accompanying drawings illustrating embodiments thereof, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the package according to one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side perspective view illustrating the forming of the package;
FIGS. 3 to 5 are perspective views further illustrating the sequence of forming the package;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view illustrating opening of the package;
FIG. 7 is an exploded view of one embodiment of a blister pack that may be used with the present invention;
FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view taken along the lines 8-8 of FIG. 7;
FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate removal of a capsule from a blister pocket;
FIG. 11 is a cross sectional view of a further embodiment of a blister pack assembly that may be utilized with the present invention;
FIG. 12 is an exploded view thereof;
FIGS. 13 and 14 are cross sectional views illustrating opening of the blister pack;
FIGS. 15 to 19 are cross sectional views of a further embodiment of a blister pack assembly which may be used with the present invention;
FIG. 20 is an exploded view of a still further embodiment of a blister pack assembly which may be used with the present invention;
FIG. 21 is a further exploded view thereof;
FIG. 22 is a cross sectional view taken along the lines 22-22 of FIG. 21;
FIG. 23 is a cross sectional view taken along the lines 23-23 of FIG. 21;
FIGS. 24 and 25 are views illustrating opening of the package;
FIG. 26 is a cross sectional view of a still further embodiment of a blister pack assembly which may be used with the present invention;
FIG. 27 is a cross sectional view similar to FIG. 26 illustrating initiation of the opening of the package; and
FIG. 28 is a perspective view illustrating the removal of a tear strip to gain access to the blister pack cavity.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
In FIG. 1, there is illustrated a package generally designated by reference numeral 10 and which package is in an unassembled condition.
Container 10 is formed from a paperboard blank and is divided into a number of different panels and walls. Thus, there is provided a centrally located bottom wall panel 12 and which has, at opposite side marginal edges thereof, a pair of fold lines 26 and 28. Fold line 26, along with a further fold line 24, define a first sidewall 18.
Similarly, at the other side marginal edge, there is a sidewall 20 which is defined by fold lines 28 and 30.
The blank also includes an upper wall panel generally designated by reference numeral 16 and which is connected at fold line 24 to sidewall 18. On the other side, a cover panel generally designated by reference numeral 14 is connected to sidewall 20 at fold line 30. On the other side of cover panel 16 there is provided a closer flange 22 and which is defined by fold line 32.
At its end marginal edges, bottom wall panel 12 is provided with a first end wall 34 and a second end wall (not shown). Wall 34 is defined by fold lines 38 and 40 and there is also provided an inwardly extending flange 36. At its upper extremity, second end wall has a fold line 48 and there is provided an inwardly extending flange 44.
As may be seen in FIG. 1, sidewall 18 has a pair of end wall flaps 54 and 56 at each end thereof. Similarly, sidewall 20 has end wall flaps 50 and 52.
Upper wall panel 14 also has end walls 58 and 60 extending about fold lines 61 and 63 respectively.
In the free marginal edge of upper wall panel 14, there is provided a small recess generally designated by reference numeral 67.
A blister pack assembly 66 forms a portion of upper wall panel 14. In this respect, and as will be described in detail herein below, blister pack assembly 66 comprises a paperboard layer which is integral with upper wall panel 14 and forms a portion thereof. Paperboard layer is provided with tear lines 70 and 72, again for reasons which will become apparent hereinbelow.
In assembly, as shown in FIGS. 2 to 5, upper wall panel 14 is folded about fold lines 24 and 26 to then overlie upper wall panel 12. Cover panel 16 is then folded over upper wall panel 14 and closer flange 22 may then be secured to sidewall 18. In so doing the various portions adhered to each other may be done through heat sealing or other types of adhesive.
As will be seen in FIG. 5, there is thus provided a compact package with large surfaces allowing for information to be printed thereon.
When it is required to access the medicants in the package, cover panel 16 is opened and then the user can insert a finger in recess 67 to separate blister pack panel 66 along tear lines 70, 72 to provide access to the medicants. As may be seen in FIG. 3, blister pack 66 is provided with tear strips 76 each having a tab 78 associated therewith.
Blister pack assembly 66 may be formed in different manners with several embodiments being described hereinbelow.
In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 7 to 10, there is illustrated a blister pack having a blister layer 110 with a plurality of blister pockets 112 formed therein in a conventional manner.
Designed to be placed on top of a blister layer 110 is an optional data layer 114. Data layer 114 has cut-outs to receive the blister pockets and may carry pertinent information thereon. To this end, data layer 114 is generally of a paper or paperboard material.
Secured to the underside of blister layer 110 is a rupturable foil layer 116. Such rupturable foil layers are well known in the art.
A paperboard reinforcing layer 118 is secured to rupturable foil layer 116 by means of a conventional adhesive 117. Paperboard layer 118 has a first side which lies adjacent to rupturable foil layer 116 and a second exteriorly facing side.
As is known in the art, tear strips 124 are formed in paperboard layer 118 as described in greater detail hereinbelow. Tear strips 124 each individually overlie one of the blister pockets 112 and are defined by a traditional line of weakening.
Associated with each tear strip 124 is a tab 126. Tabs 126 are not sealed to foil layer 116 and, as may be seen in FIGS. 8 to 10, each tab 126 is defined by a slit 128 which extends completely through paperboard layer 118. However, at the point where tab 126 meets tear strip 124, there is provided a further slit 132 extending from first side 120 and extending for a depth of approximately 70% of the thickness of the paperboard layer 118.
There is also provided a slit 130 at the distal end of tear strip 124. A partial cut 132, as may be seen in FIGS. 8 through 10, extends through first side 120 of paperboard layer 118. However, partial cut 132 extends to a depth substantially less than that of slit 132 for reasons which will become apparent hereinbelow. Typically, partial cut 130 may extend into paperboard layer a distance approximately equal to 30% of the thickness of paperboard layer 118.
In order to provide access to capsule 40 which is contained in blister pocket 112, tab 126 is lifted as indicated by arrow 138 in FIG. 9. As the continued lifting motion is applied, an upper approximately 30% of paperboard layer 118 will tend to delaminate. The extent of the delamination can be controlled by the depth of slit 132. After removing approximately 30% of paperboard layer 118, there will remain 70% of the paperboard layer. However, where partial cut 132 is located, there will be only 40% of the paperboard layer thus permitting easier exit of capsule 140 when pressure is applied to blister pockets 112 indicated by arrow 142.
In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 11 to 14, there is provided a package which has a blister layer 150. The blister layer 150 having blister pockets 152 formed therein is as in the previously described embodiment. A rupturable foil layer 154 is secured by adhesive 156 to the backside of blister layer 150 in a conventional manner. Similarly, there is provided a reinforcing paperboard layer 158 secured to rupturable foil layer 154 by means of adhesive 160. Tear strips 162 are formed in paperboard layer 158, each tear strips 162 having a tab 164 associated therewith.
In this embodiment, each tear strips 162 and tab 164 is arranged so that they are sealed about the periphery of the blister pocket 152.
As may be seen in FIGS. 12 and 13, there is also provided a depression 166 formed in blister layer 150. As illustrated in FIG. 13, following removal of the paperboard layer or portions thereof, a finger may then be utilized as indicated by arrow 170 to break the remainder of the paperboard layer and foil layer. This foil layer may then be removed from around blister pocket 182 to provided access to the contents of the blister pocket.
A further embodiment is illustrated in FIGS. 15 to 19 and reference will now be had thereto.
In this embodiment, there is provided a package which includes a blister layer 480 having a blister pocket 482 therein for containing a capsule 484. Sealed to blister layer by means of adhesive 488 is a foil layer 486. In turn, a paperboard layer 490 is secured to foil layer 486 by means of adhesive 492.
A tear strip 496 has a slit 494 formed at one end thereof. A first tab portion 498 is not adhered to foil layer 486 and access may be gained thereto to completely remove tear strip 496.
At the other end of tear strip 496, there is provided a second tab 402 which is partially defined by slit 400. Thus, as may be seen in FIGS. 12 and 13, a slight pressure on the package will permit access to tab 498 to permit removal of tear strip 496. Removal of tear strip 496 stops at slit 400.
Subsequently, second tab 402, which is likewise not adhered to foil layer 486, may then be removed. Underneath this portion of the paperboard, there is provided a foil layer tab 404 which is likewise not adhered to blister layer 480. This permits removal of the foil layer as illustrated by arrow 414.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 20 to 25, there is illustrated a blister package 210 which includes a blister layer 212 which has a front side 214 and a rear or back side 216. Pockets 218 are formed in blister layer 212 and pockets 218 extending outwardly from the front side 214 in a conventional manner. Blister layer 212, as previously discussed, is preferably formed of a clear plastic material.
A foil layer 222 is adhered to the rear or back side 216 of blister layer 212 in a conventional manner.
According to the present invention, there is provided a paper layer 224 which is then adhered to foil layer 222 to act as a reinforcement therefore.
Finally, there is provided a reinforcing paperboard layer 226 which is selectively adhered to portions of paper layer 224. In this respect, paperboard layer 226 is not adhered to paper layer 224 in the central area in registry with pockets 218 nor is it adhered in the area of tabs as will be discussed hereinbelow. However, paperboard layer 226 is adhered to paper layer 224 about periphery of pockets 218.
Formed in reinforcing paperboard layer 226 are a plurality of slits or lines for weakening to thereby define a plurality of tear strips 230, each tear strip being associated with a respective pocket 218. Each tear strip 230 has a tab 232 at one end thereof. Slits 234 define tabs 232 and which slits 234 extend completely through the paperboard layer such that the tabs may be easily lifted.
As shown in FIGS. 24 and 25, a tab 232 may be lifted and then pulled in a conventional manner. In so doing, reinforcing paperboard layer 226 delaminates while paper layer 224 and foil layer 222 remain to cover the pocket 218. As will be appreciated, there does remain a delamination of paperboard layer 226 about the periphery of the area covering pocket 218. However, in the central portion, only the paper layer 224 and the foil layer 222 remain. As such, access to pocket 218 remains sufficiently difficult for a child while an adult, even with limited physical strength, is able to access the same.
In the embodiment of FIGS. 26, 27 and 28, there is provided a package which comprises a front blister layer sheet 310, rupturable film 312 and a reinforcing layer 314. The blister sheet 310 may be clear, vinyl plastic about 12 ml thick, the rupturable film is usually foil about 1 ml thick and will, hereinafter be referred to as foil, and the reinforcing layer may be cardboard and may be of any convenient thickness that will separate into strata on tearing.
The blister sheet 310 comprises a number of bubbles or pockets 316 projecting from its front surface to contain tables 328 and also is provided with indentations 318 each of which is located between two pockets 316. Foil 312 is sealed onto the rear surface of blister sheet 310 in any convenient manner for example, by the use of a conventional sealant to close the pockets 316.
In manufacture, the indentations 318 may be formed in the blister sheet before or after the foil is applied. It is however, convenient to apply the foil to the flat surface and thereafter form the indentations, stretching the foil slightly in the process.
The reinforcing layer 314 may be adhered to the foil 312 using a suitable heat sealable coating which is applied all over the surface of the foil, for example by means of a flexographic printing press. Alternatively, the coating may be applied to the reinforcing layer.
The reinforcing layer comprises a matrix 322 and tear strips 324 having tabs 326, the layer being proportioned and located so that the tear strips 324 lie over the closed pockets 316 and the tabs lie over the indentations 318. The matrix 322 and the tear strips are firmly attached to the foil 312 by the adhesive such that any attempt to pull the matrix and/or the tear strips 324 away will result in the reinforcing layer 314 separating into strata 328 (see FIG. 28) rather that total removal from the foil 312.
The tear strips 324 are formed by parallel cuts from edge to edge of the reinforcing layer. The cuts are located so that the strip between each pair of cuts covers two pockets 316 and an indentation 318 thus forming two tear strips 324 and their tabs 326 so that the reinforcing layer will remain of unitary structure before it is applied to the foil 314. It is convenient that at least over part of the length of each cut there are interruptions of the cut. Thus suitably, the cuts have slotted or perforated portions 332 over the length of the tear strip 324. That portion 331 of the cuts defining the tabs 326 should be made as clean cuts so that the tab is more easily grasped in the fingers. The tabs 326 are delineated from their respective tear strips by a score line 330 whereby the tabs 326 are more easily bent away from the package to be grasped in the fingers.
While a package of particular configuration of reinforcing layer has been described, it is to be appreciated that the configuration of the reinforcing layer is only of importance in that the tear strips 324 should overlie the pockets and that the grippable tabs 326 should not adhere to the foil. In particular, an embodiment is described in which two tabs from different tear strips are located to share the unsealed area of single indentation. Clearly, an indentation may be provided for each tab if desired.
In operation, the user wishing to obtain a tablet from a pocket bends the package thereby exposing the leading edge of one of the tabs 326. The user can then grip the tab 326 in his fingers. Alternatively, as the finger approaches the tab, it will automatically push the adjacent tab 326 into the underlying indentation 318 facilitating access to the desired tab 326. Having taken hold of the tab, the user pulls it outwardly and toward the edge of the package generally parallel to the cuts 332 defining the long edges of the tear strip 324. The tear strip 324 will separate into strata 328 and the top stratum attached to the tab 326 will pull back revealing the bottom stratum and indicating that the package is partially open or that an attempt has been made to open it. The tablet may thereafter be accessed through the bottom strata and the foil by conventional means such as by pushing the tablet and pocket towards it while at the same time deforming the pocket to stretch the foil and reinforcing layer to a point which facilitates breaking them with the aid of the product to be dispensed.
Patent applications by Thomas D. Intini, Brossard CA
Patent applications in class With rupture means for access
Patent applications in all subclasses With rupture means for access