Thoughts from the PDA Universe of Pre-Filled Syringes and Injection Devices 2022 conference

Published on: 27th October 2022

We are now into peak conference season in the Autumn and Winter, and as the globe transitions out of Covid restrictions the conferences are once again being held face to face. With Winter approaching the pleasure at being able to attend the PDA Universe of Pre-Filled Syringes and Injection Devices Conference was magnified this year by the sunshine in Palm Springs, California. Rob Veasey and Paul Draper from DCA made the trip to participate in a busy programme of presentations, catching up with colleagues and old friends, and making new connections.


Rob and Paul were actively involved in two of the key topics for the injection devices, and for that matter the industry as a whole. Rob presented a talk on the subject of ‘sustainability’ and Paul covered ‘connected devices’ with a presentation and a tech talk. Rob used the case study of TouStar to cover the sustainability benefits that can be leveraged through eco-design with a reusable solution for concentrated insulin therapy. His talk was well received, firstly because of the importance the industry is beginning to place on sustainability and secondly because of the data driven evidence of the benefits a well-designed reusable drug delivery device can bring. He also explained how TouStar seeks to address the risks and usability challenges commonly encountered when considering reusable injection devices. Paul’s presentation on the ‘Seven key pillars of successful connected injection device development’ and tech talk giving ‘An introduction to cybersecurity for connected devices’ framed some of the key development challenges faced when developing connected devices. He also gave insights from DCA’s experience in how to address these in successful development programmes.



The theme of sustainability was strong in the rest of the conference with further discussions including ‘take back’ schemes, that we are very much hoping can gain some traction to deal with the disposal and recycling of injection devices. Also discussed in other talks was the aspect of the ability of reusable injection devices to reduce the environmental impact of drug delivery. However, it is acknowledged that sustainability is amongst the first elements to be put aside when it comes to the human nature of prioritising health at all cost. But, with so many companies in the industry now putting sustainability on the corporate agenda and establishing the benefits of reusable devices, this could be the start of a change in priorities.

One presentation referenced how a pen injector was able to improve patient adherence rates compared with a syringe and vial delivery system. Similar points were made with regard to the addition of connected functionality to injection devices and ecosystems. DCA agree that if the target is to empower the patient with the data and guidance to better manage their own condition, then there is a definite benefit to be leveraged by ‘connecting’ delivery device systems. Improved adherence is a win for patients – giving them better health, a win for pharmaceutical companies – increasing their sales, and a win for payers – giving them reduced total cost benefits from reduced interventions and complications.

Finally, we would like to pull out two specific highlights that are close to DCA’s core design philosophy. Firstly, David Booth from JPM CBRN Medical gave a presentation on product development frameworks for designing reliable autoinjectors. His point about designing in robustness and reliability from the start, rather than seeking to ‘test it in’ later, is absolutely key to DCA’s approach to design. Secondly, Jim Collins repeatedly made the point that excellence in device design requires a champion to protect the design and usability of the product. DCA whole heartedly agrees that the importance of usability and design in patient engagement should not be underestimated, and patient engagement is a key driver of product success. You will frequently find DCA striving to protect these usability and design goals against the other constraints of successful product development; with evidence, experience, expertise and pragmatism.

Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss any topic raised in this article or are interested in hearing about how DCA can help with your drug delivery device projects.