Rainer Schuller is responsible at Constantia Flexibles for preprint management in the areas of Pharma and Healthcare and provides advice in areas such as the printing of pharmaceutical packaging. He knows why it is important for pharmaceutical packaging to be more individually designed in the future.
Mr. Schuller, tablet packs and many other medicinal products almost all look the same. Why should this change?
It is worthwhile for the pharmaceutical industry to invest in the individualization of its tablet packs or other medical packaging. This is an important unique selling point for differentiating from similar products. On the other side, a special print protects against counterfeits, which have become a big problem for the medicinal product industry in recent years.
What options do customers have when designing their medicinal packaging?
There are a great many printing solutions for sophisticated designs that also make the packaging safer. For example, one can print a pattern on the outside and the sealing side of a tablet pack, i.e. the shiny or matt side of the aluminum foil. But one could also print a real image or photo on the packaging – this allows the target group to be addressed directly while also fostering a positive experience. The illustration also establishes a more direct relationship with the intended purpose and thus increases user-friendliness. This also applies to the individual packaging that is taken out of the box and stored in the bedside table as well as packaging that is taken on holiday. Concerning tubes, for example, we have already grown so accustomed to this convenience that no manufacturer would think of simply randomly printing the product name and dosage. Instead, the entire advertising message of the product is conveyed here as well. We have seen how this can be done successfully in the over-the-counter area for decades. Why don’t we also use these options for pharmaceutical primary packaging? This packaging is also subconsciously perceived on an emotional level by the prescribing physician, patients and users.
In addition to images or patterns, other printing forms are naturally also possible. One of our high-tech solutions involves converting a particular illustration into variable lines and curved lines using licensed security software. Our “security print” on aluminum also offers the possibility of integrating a covert feature that is only known by the manufacturer.
Do you have other examples of high-tech solutions when it comes to printing?
Of course. We can – to name another interesting process – prepare cylinders for printing using chemical etching. This process comes originally from the printing of bank notes and security papers. The advantage lies in the ability to print very fine details with simultaneously high color saturation. This offers the option of printing smaller text, and therefore more text, on the packaging as well as designs with fine lines. In other words, this etching-based cylinder manufacturing process is another important tool for protecting products from counterfeiting.