FPA’s Sterilization Packaging Manufacturers Council’s (SPMC) Executive Committee held its annual meeting in New York on June 14, 2018, to discuss the activities of the past year and plan for next year. The Executive Council of the SPMC consists of executives from member companies supported by Technical and Marketing Committees. The meeting opened with the antitrust reminder, self-introductions, and minutes of the previous meeting were reviewed and approved as written. 

Following are the highlights of the meeting:

SPMC Technical Committee

The Technical Committee Chair (Scott Coons, Bemis Healthcare Packaging) provided an overview of the committee’s activities over the past year and stated that the primary focus of the committee is to participate in the development of ASTM standards related to sterile barrier packaging and revisions to ISO 11607 — Parts 1 & 2. This is a principal document for the packaging of terminally sterilized medical devices, setting out requirements for materials, design, and packaging process validation. The SPMC Technical Committee was actively engaged in the development and approval process of this standard. 

The Technical Committee continues to partner with the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC) project to determine viable strategies for the recycling of multi-material flexible plastics packaging discarded by hospitals. Through blending trials and material analysis, the project aims to identify potential end market applications for the recovered material. 

The Committee decided to change its course from the development of the traditional form of FAQs to “White Papers” on topics of interest to the medical devices industry. 

The Committee also discussed the value of conducting a webinar and agreed to conduct one in November 2018 that will be hosted by PMPNews. The webinar will provide an opportunity for medical device manufacturers to interact with packaging professionals. 

SPMC Marketing Committee

The Marketing Committee Chair (Kathleen Daly Mascolo, Beacon Converters, Inc.) provided an update on the Marketing Committee activities. The Committee is spearheading the development of a communications plan, which will guide the SPMC’s marketing and branding efforts. The SPMC’s web presence has grown steadily over the years, and now attracts visitors from all over the world. The communications plan is envisioned to elevate the SPMC profile in a targeted way to reach those who will benefit most from the SPMC’s online resources. 

A redesigned website is scheduled to go live later this year. The new website features full-screen graphics and the responsive design is optimized for smartphone and tablet use. It features an engaging interactive design, an expanded and dynamic Members Only area, and easy access to online technical assistance. The website’s reorganized FAQ interface is expected to help packaging professionals find vital technical information more easily.

Update on Aluminum Foil Trade Actions

During the meeting, a presentation on Aluminum Foil Trade Actions was shared. To represent member interests in this matter, FPA hired outside counsel, Mowry & Grimson, PLLC. The import of Chinese thin gauge aluminum foil is critical to the industry due to the lack of its availability and quality from domestic manufacturers. The imposition of Anti-Dumping/Countervailing Duties on Imports of Chinese Aluminum Foil from the International Trade Commission case and tariffs imposed on aluminum imports resulting from the Section 232 investigation is going to negatively affect U.S. manufacturing jobs. 

The meeting concluded with the presentation of the annual Benchmarking Report, which provides an update on the industry based on SPMC members’ input. 

The next SPMC Executive Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 13, 2019, in New York.

About the Sterilization Packaging Manufacturers Council (SPMC)

Formed in 1994 as a council of the Flexible Packaging Association, the Sterilization Packaging Manufacturers Council (SPMC) specializes in packaging for the medical device industry and is comprised of members of the Flexible Packaging Association. SPMC focuses on the unique requirements for sterilization packaging and is actively engaged in the development of test methods and guidance documents for medical packaging that can be adopted by FPA and subsequently by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). For more information about SPMC, please visit www.sterilizationpackaging.org.