TOUGH REGULATIONS, HIGH STANDARDS AND UTMOST QUALITY SET DRUG LABELS — AND THEIR CONVERTERS — APART FROM THE REST.
(Source : Excerpts from a “Label & Narrow Web” Magazine article 05/07)
Staying ahead of counterfeiters is one area of pharmaceutical labeling that gets constant attention. Michael Brady, president and owner of HP Mile, a company that produces labels for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries in Syracuse, NY, USA, explains: “The newest techniques used in pharmaceutical labeling have been introduced to battle counterfeiting and mix-ups. These techniques are designed to protect the consumer and ensure the integrity of the pharmaceutical product. These range from unit-of-use bar coding to RFID tagging. Some techniques in between are use of holograms, pattern adhesives or even serial numbers printed on the label with invisible varnish or ink.”
HP Mile’s Brady says, “We have SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) from order entry through shipping that have been audited and approved by many of the large pharmaceutical companies. We have redundant inspections both on press and after printing, and people who have been trained in cGMPs (current Good Manufacturing Processes), which help to ensure product quality.”
Brady says, “Electronic inspection and verification is what most label printers that are in the pharmaceutical arena are using. This is accomplished using a vision inspection system that uses electronic imaging technology to ensure precise and accurate inspection of labels. On our presses we have a digital inspection system that takes a snapshot of the moving web and displays real-time images on a high resolution monitor. This allows the operator to catch any misprints or registration issues and take corrective action.”
Brady is optimistic that RFID will become more common. “The use of RFID in pharmaceuticals is gaining prevalence to combat counterfeit and compromised drugs. As the cost of implementing an RFID program continues to fall and the reliability continues to increase, you will begin to see it used more and more on high-counterfeit products.”
Brady says, “The additional steps to ensure 100 percent accurate labels for the pharmaceutical industry add to the cost structure.” He adds that HP Mile has implemented Lean Manufacturing processes to help reduce the costs. Those cost savings are passed on to customers.