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Medical Device Packaging Validation

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Medical Device Testing Services Catalog

Medical Device Packaging Validation

Medical device packaging validation is a key component of all medical device design history files and regulatory submissions. The goal is to ensure that the medical device cleared for commercialization, whether labeled sterile or non-sterile, will arrive to the end-user in an uncompromised condition. WuXi AppTec Medical Device Testing experts approach packaging validation by looking at the components individually and as a complete package system to meet ISO 11607 and EU MDR requirements.

Comprehensive Package Validation Testing for Your Medical Device

Need to evaluate the integrity of your medical device packaging? WuXi AppTec is an experienced preclinical testing partner for device manufacturers. We offer everything from validation of the packaging/seal integrity, simulated distribution/transportation testing to shelf-life determination. This ensures you collect the required information needed to meet regulatory expectations.

Simulated Distribution/Transportation Testing Methods

Medical device manufacturers must evaluate the ability of the package and shipper to protect the product through handling, shipping, and distribution environments, which may result in damage such as puncture, abrasion, and seal failure. WuXi AppTec can support the following packaging validation methods for simulated distribution/transportation testing (shake, rattle, and roll)

  • Distribution Simulation Shipper Test (ASTM D 4169 – DC 13) – subjects shipping units to a sequence of hazardous elements typically encountered in distribution environments, like shock, drop, vibration, and compression.
  • Compression Test (ASTM D 642) – covers compression tests on shipping containers (boxes and drums), their components, or both.
  • Drop Test (ASTM D 5276) – evaluates the capability of a container to withstand the sudden shock resulting from a free fall, or evaluates the capability of a container and its inner packing to protect its contents during the sudden shock resulting from a free fall.
  • Transportation Simulation Test (ISTA Project 1A, 2A and 3A) – predetermines the probability of packaged products safely arriving at their destination by simulating the shocks and stresses normally encountered during handling and transportation.
  • Thermal Controlled Transport Packaging Test (ISTA 7D) – evaluates the effects of external temperature exposure on the packaged product.
  • ISTA Environmental Conditioning (ISTA Series) – mimics the environmental conditions your product and packaging will encounter, including heat, humidity, and vibration, to ensure packaging performance.
  • ASTM Environmental Conditioning (ASTM D4332) – simulates particular field conditions that a container, package, or packaging component may encounter during its life or testing cycle.

Shelf-Life Determination Testing Method

Following ISO 11607, packaging validation includes accelerated aging and the corresponding integrity testing as well as simulated distribution and its subsequent integrity testing. WuXi AppTec can support the following packaging validation method for shelf-life determination.

  • Accelerated Aging/Shelf-Life Expiration Dating (ASTM F1980) – serves as key interim data to support product shelf-life dating until real-time data are available.

Package Integrity Testing Methods

Regulations require the integrity of sterile packages to be maintained during the production, shipping, and throughout the life of the product. Physical testing for package leaks is generally the preferred method and has been shown to be more sensitive than the microbial challenge test. WuXi AppTec can support the following packaging validation method for package integrity.

  • Bubble Emission Test (ASTM F 2096 or FPA/SPMC 005-98) – detects air leakage through a channel in the seal or pinhole in the package. This method is applicable to nonporous packaging and porous packaging that has its porous component sealed with a blocking agent.
  • Dye Penetration (ASTM F 1929) – detects small leaks in materials or seals of packages where harmful biological or particulate contamination may enter. This method is applicable to porous and nonporous medical device packages.
  • Liquid Dye Immersion (USP <1207.2> and USP <381>) – detects failures, such as cracks, seams, and laminations, due to leaks or lack of fusion. This method can be used on various types of materials, such as nonporous, metallic materials (ferrous and non-ferrous) and nonmetallic materials (glazed ceramics, certain nonporous plastics, and glass).
  • Whole Package Microbial Aerosol Challenge with Sterility Test – evaluates the ability of an intact production package to maintain its sterile barrier until it reaches its end-of-use point. In the test chamber, the package is subject to an aerosol challenge, which may be performed under dynamic or static conditions.
  • Whole Package Microbial Talc Challenge with Sterility Test – evaluates the ability of an intact, production package to maintain its sterile environment until it reaches its end-of-use point.
  • Microbial Ingress / Immersion Challenge – assesses the ability of a non-porous package to provide a microbial barrier.

Seal Integrity Testing Methods

Usability evaluation plays a crucial role in ensuring the compliance of medical devices with the ISO 11607 standard and seal integrity testing. ISO 11607 specifically addresses the packaging requirements for medical devices, aiming to ensure their safety and effectiveness. Usability evaluation focuses on assessing how users interact with the packaging system, including seals, to determine its functionality, ease of use, and potential risks. By conducting rigorous usability evaluations, manufacturers can identify and address any usability issues that may compromise the seal integrity or the overall performance of the medical device packaging. Ultimately, usability evaluation contributes to the development of reliable and user-friendly packaging solutions that uphold the integrity and sterility of medical devices.

  • Seal Peel Strength (ASTM F 88) – determines the strength of a specific area of the seal for a medical device package.
  • Burst Strength (ASTM F 1140) – determines a package’s ability to resist internal pressure and measures the strength of the package seals.

Medical Device Packaging Validation FAQs


What is medical device packaging validation?

Medical device packaging validation testing is a series of tests that ensure the packaging system for a medical device product is safe and effective at maintaining the integrity and sterility of the device throughout its shelf life. Packaging validation includes packaging/seal integrity, simulated distribution/transportation testing, shelf-life determination, and labeling verification.

Why is medical device packaging validation important?

Medical device packaging must protect the product from factors such as physical damage, microbial contamination, and environmental conditions like temperature and humidity. Through package integrity testing and transportation simulations, potential risks such as contamination, damage, or degradation during storage or distribution can be identified and addressed. Additionally, shelf-life and aging studies assess the packaging’s durability over time, guaranteeing that it maintains its protective properties and meets the expected lifespan of the device.

What are the regulatory requirements for medical device packaging validation?

The regulatory requirements for medical device packaging validation may vary depending on the region and country. However, there are some general principles and guidelines that are widely recognized and followed by regulatory authorities worldwide, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Here are some key regulatory requirements for medical device packaging validation:


  • ISO Standards: The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides several standards related to medical device packaging validation. ISO 11607, for example, covers packaging for terminally sterilized medical devices and provides guidance on validation requirements.
  • Design Control: Medical device packaging validation is an essential part of the overall design control process. Companies must demonstrate that the packaging is designed and developed in a controlled manner, ensuring it meets the intended purpose and protects the device throughout its lifecycle.
  • Stability and Shelf Life: Packaging validation should include studies on the stability of the packaging materials and the shelf life of the device when stored in the proposed packaging. This information is crucial for determining the appropriate expiration date and storage conditions.
  • Biocompatibility: If the packaging materials come into direct contact with the medical device or its contents, biocompatibility testing may be necessary to ensure the packaging materials do not adversely affect the device or the patient.
  • Sterility Assurance: For sterile medical devices, packaging validation must include studies to ensure that the packaging maintains the sterility of the device until the point of use.
  • Transportation and Distribution: Packaging validation should consider the potential hazards during transportation and distribution, ensuring the package can withstand expected conditions and protect the device effectively.
  • Labeling and Instructions for Use: Packaging validation should also cover the accuracy and legibility of labels and instructions for use on the packaging to ensure they are clear, accurate, and in compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Risk Management: Medical device packaging validation should be conducted with consideration of risk management principles, identifying and mitigating potential risks associated with packaging failure.

It is essential for medical device manufacturers to thoroughly review the specific regulatory requirements in the regions where they intend to market their products. Keeping abreast of any updates or changes to regulations is crucial to maintaining compliance and ensuring patient safety.