- BACKGROUND OF THE ART
The present application relates to packaging and, more particularly, to a blister pack for dispensing items such as pills, capsules and/or tablets, that requires the user to perform a series of steps to access a pill within the card, thus preventing a child, but not an adult, access to items present within the blister pack.
Child resistant packaging for pills, such as tablets and capsules, is well known for preventing uncontrolled consumption of pills by children. For example, blister packs having reinforced push-through type backing foil have been used in an attempt to prevent children from accessing pills within the blister pack. Often, however, such blister packs are difficult for adults, particularly elderly adults, to open.
Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide child resistant packaging that renders access to pills difficult for children yet facile for adults.
In accordance with one general aspect, there is provided a child resistant card for dispensing pills, e.g., capsules and/or tablets, that renders access to the pills difficult for a child but not for an adult. The child resistant blister card enables the user to access the item disposed within the card after performing a series of steps.
According to one aspect, there is provided a child resistant blister card assembly comprising: a blister card having a blister cavity for holding one item to be dispensed, and a foil sealing the item in the blister cavity; a protective envelope in which the blister card is retained captive, the protective envelope having a front panel and a back panel, the blister card being received between the front panel and the back panel with the blister cavity of the blister card projecting outwardly through a blister hole defined in the front panel; a front weakened area defined in the front panel and the blister card adjacent to the blister cavity; a tear tab defined in the back panel and underlying the first weakened area and the blister cavity, when in place, the tear tab providing resistance to prevent the item from being pushed through the foil of the blister card, the tear tab being held in a non-accessible position to prevent a person from grasping and pulling on the tear tab, wherein the tear tab is released from said non-accessible position thereof by applying a sufficient pressure on the front weakened area to depress the front weakened area and cause detachment of a portion of the tear tab from the back panel, thereby providing a grasp by which the tear tab can then be peeled back to expose the foil.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
According to a further aspect, there is provided a child resistant blister card assembly comprising: a blister card including a container sheet defining at least one blister container for receiving an item to be dispensed, and a backing foil sealing the item in the blister container; a back panel at least partly covering said backing foil, the back panel having a closure held in a closed position in which the closure prevents the item from being push through the backing foil; and a releaser provided on a front face of said blister card and being adapted to transfer a pressure to said closure so as to release the closure from said closed position thereof, thereby allowing subsequent displacement of the closure from the closed position to an open position in which the backing foil is exposed such as to allow the item to be pushed through the backing foil.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a child resistant blister package shown in an unassembled state and including a blister card adapted to be captively received between hingedly interconnected front and back paperboard panels.
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the assembled child resistant blister package shown in FIG. 1, the section being taken transversely through a central blister cavity or pocket; and
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
FIGS. 3 a to 3 c illustrate the series of steps required to dispense a pill contained in the blister package.
FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a child resistant blister package 10 comprising a push-through blister card 12 and a protective envelope 14 configured to captively receive the blister card 12. In the illustrated example, the blister package 12 is intended to be used to dispense a single item I, such as a pill, a capsule and/or a tablet, for which the dosage is, for instance, once a month. While a single-product blister package is shown, it is understood that the present application also encompasses multiple-item blister packages.
The blister card 12 is of conventional construction and comprises a container sheet 16 having a centrally disposed raised cavity also referred to as a blister container 18 formed therein and projecting from a front face thereof. A backing foil 20 is heat sealed or otherwise secured to the container sheet 16 to seal the item I in the blister container 18. The container sheet 16 is made of a material having sufficient flexibility for allowing the blister container 18 to be easily manually depressed. For instance, the container sheet can be made out of clear plastic materials, such as transparent polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene or polypropylene. This is not intended to constitute an exhaustive list. The backing foil 20 can be provided in the form of a laminate of thin metal foil such as aluminum foil. Other suitable materials are contemplated as well. The structure of the backing foil 20 is such that manual depression of the blister container 18 downwardly against the item I is sufficient to push the item I through the backing foil 20. Such foils are known as push-through foils.
The protective envelope 14 can be formed of a single sheet of solid paperboard material die-cut in the desired configuration. As shown in FIG. 1, the envelope 14 comprises a front paperboard panel 22 and a back paperboard panel 24 integrally interconnected along a fold line or live hinge 26. The blister card 12 is sandwiched between the front and back panels 22 and 24 of the protective envelope 14. A central opening 28 is defined in the front panel 22. The blister container 18 protrudes through the central opening 28. Likewise, openings 30 are defined in the corner regions of the front panel 22 for receiving corresponding projections 31 formed in the container sheet 16 of the blister card 12. The projections 31 in the openings 30 provide added stability to the package 10 once fully assembled. Alternatively, corner domes or projections 31 could be substituted by stability ridges according to the layout and configuration of the package. It is noted that such additional stability is not always required and as such the stability features are considered optional. The back panel 24 overlies the backing foil 20 of the blister card 12 and provides the required strength to prevent the item I contained in the blister container 18 from being dispensed in a single step by solely manually depressing the blister container 18 so as to push the item I through the backing foil 20.
While the protective envelope 14 has been described as being made of paperboard, it is understood that it could made of any other suitable material offering enough strength to prevent the item I from being pushed directly by hand through the backing foil 20 when the back panel 24 is in place behind the blister card 12. Also, additional serially interconnected foldable panels (not shown) similar to the front and back panels 22 and 24 could integrally extend from one of the front and back panels 22 and 24 to allow the package 10 to fold into a wallet-like configuration, thereby providing a nice and clean packaging aspect to the product. Information on the item contained in the blister card 12 as well as graphic representations could be printed on the outer foldable sections of the envelope 14 to further provide an appealing package.
The assembly of the blister package 10 can be done by first positioning the blister card 12 on the inner face of the front paperboard panel 22 and then adhesively securing the blister card 12 to the front panel 22. The adhesive can be solely applied along one side of the blister card 12. Not all of the surface of the blister card 12 needs to be bonded to the front paperboard panel 22. The bonding between the blister card 12 and the front panel 22 of the envelope 14 is mainly done for maintaining the relative disposition of the blister card 12 and the front paperboard panel 22 during the assembly process and is thus not considered critical to the integrity of the package. Then, the front and back paperboard panels 22 and 24 are closed on the blister card 12 and adhesively secured together, for instance, by applying an adhesive on the inwardly facing surfaces of the front and back panels 22 and 24 within a margin area outwardly of the periphery of the blister card 12 (see FIG. 2).
A weakened area 32 is provided in the front panel 22 and the blister card 12 just above the blister container 18 and the corresponding central hole 28. The weakened area 32 can be provided by a semi-circular or half-moon score line 34 die cut in the front panel 22 and the blister card 12. The semi-circular score line 34 is sized to form a thumb pressing region (see FIG. 3 a) which can be easily depressed with a thumb in order to release a pull zipper or tear tab 36 formed in the back panel 24 of the protective envelope 14. The tear tab 36 is otherwise not accessible; it is confined within the back panel 24. In order to be able to grasp the tear tab 36, the weakened area 32 must be depressed by manually pressing thereon so as to cause a portion of the tear tab 36 to come out of the plane of the back panel 24, thereby providing a tab portion by which the user can subsequently grasp the tear tab 34 in order to ripped it off from the back panel 24, thereby exposing the backing foil 20.
The tear tab 36 extends over the blister container 28 and the front weakened area 32. The score line defining the outline of the tear tab 36 is spaced inwardly from the contour of the back panel 24. This prevents someone from picking up one end of the tear tab 36 to pull it off before the front weakened area 32 is depressed. The half-moon score line 34 is in registry with the upper end portion of the tear tab 36 and disposed slightly inwardly of the tear tab score line. In this way, the pressure applied on the weakened area 32 is directly transmitted to the upper end portion of the tear tab 36 through the blister pack 12 until the tear tab upper end portion detaches from the remaining portion of the back panel 24.
FIGS. 3 a to 3 c show the procedure to dispense the item I from the blister package 10. Three steps are required to access the item I. First, as shown in FIG. 3 a, the user must depress the front weakened area 32 by pushing thereon with one of his/her fingers, typically the thumb. In doing so, the upper end portion of the tear tab 36 is released from the remaining portion of the back panel 24 of the protective envelope 14. The first step is required to gain access to the tear tab 36 which is otherwise held in a non-accessible position. Thereafter, as shown in FIG. 3 b, the user can grasp the upper portion of the tear tab 36 to pull it away so as to expose the portion of the backing foil 20 covering the blister container 18. The user can then press with his/her thumb on the blister container 18 to push the item I through the uncovered region of foil 20.
The above procedure thus requires a series of steps to be performed in order to access the item I. These steps are relatively easy for an adult to accomplish but sufficiently difficult to discourage a young child.
The above description is meant to be exemplary only, and one skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made to the embodiments described without departing from the scope of the invention disclosed. For instance, it is understood that the front weakened area could be disposed on the sides or below the blister container. The weakened area 32 is one possible way of releasing the tear tab 36. Other suitable pressure transferring structures could also be used as releasers to cause a portion of the tear tab to become detached from the back panel 24. According to a non-illustrated embodiment, the front panel 22 could be omitted and the front weakened area 32 could only be formed in the blister card 12. In this case the blister card 12 would be adhesively secured to the back panel 24. The adhesive would be placed at strategic places in order not to interfere with the release of the tear tab 36, i.e. the tear tab would be adhesive free. The tear tab 36 could be replaced by other forms of closures adapted to be opened after having first performed an “unlocking” step. Other modifications can be made without departing from scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.