Bag-on-Valve technology revolutionises the packaging of medicinal products, medical devices and cosmetics

Alessandro Di Martino, Special Projects Consultant at the IBSA Farmaceutici Technical Operations Department, introduces the technological innovation adopted at the company’s plants, explaining what it is and how it works.

At IBSA Farmaceutici, innovating is both a daily challenge and the focal point of all our operations, and it is based on a brilliant insight: to transform existing therapeutic solutions with known properties into a simpler, more evolved instrument of care. IBSA Farmaceutici puts patients and their needs first, by focusing not only on the formulation of its products, but also on their packaging.

This is the vocation that urged IBSA Farmaceutici to adopt the Bag-on-Valve (BoV) technology for the packaging of drugs, medical devices and cosmetics, with cream, gel or liquid forms, at its plants.

IBSA Bag on Valve, intervista al Dott. Di Martino

As Alessandro Di Martino explained in a recent interview with Cosmetic Technology, the Bag-on-Valve system consists in filling the product to be dispensed into a multi-ply bag of inert materials, sealed on to an aerosol valve and inserted inside an aluminium can. The space between the bag and the can is then pressurised using air or nitrogen. All the filling steps are subject to stringent controls.

When the user enables the valve by pressing on the dispenser button, it is the pressure the gas exerts on the bag that allows the release of the product. In other words, the pressure that acts on the bag performs the same function as the hands of a user who squeezes an aluminium tube.

Unlike aerosol sprays in pressurised cans, in which the product has to be mixed with a compressed gas, in the BoV system the product never comes into contact with the propellent, which is therefore not an ingredient of the formulation. This makes the technology far more versatile and means that it can be used not only to package liquids (sprays), but also creams and gels.

The Bag-on-Valve technology affords a number of advantages in terms of the safety, ease of use, stability and storage of the product and, no less importantly, makes it environmentally friendly:

  • the product inside the BoV bag never comes into contact with the exterior, even after dispensing, thereby guaranteeing better protection, for example against atmospheric oxidation, longer stability, reduced use of preservatives, and the maintenance of sterility even after the first use;
  • the dispensing of the product is practical, uniform and, most importantly, complete (up to 99%);
  • the BoV system makes it possible to dispense the product even when the can is held upside-down;
  • the decision to use environmentally-friendly inert fluid propellants, such as nitrogen or compressed air, avoids damage to the environment, unlike the liquid propellants used in traditional aerosol sprays or the gases used for foams.

“The decision to adopt the BoV technology, with advantages in terms of the quality, convenience and image of the product, is proving to be a successful strategy”, explains Alessandro Di Martino, “Given its versatility and advantages, IBSA Farmaceutici now also uses the Bag-on-Valve technology for other topical formulations, a healing cream and aqueous solutions for nasal and ear use, in Italy. In order to satisfy this rapid increase in volumes, we have installed a second highly automated production line affording far better performance than that used previously”.