Pharmaceutical, food, and beverage labels have to do a lot more than simply look pretty and make a good first impression on the shelf. The best packaging and labeling companies understand that product labels are also an important way for customers to safely learn about the ingredients in a product, and how to safely consume them.

That’s especially important in the pharmaceutical industry, where there are plenty of different types of adhesive labels on the market. And due to recent advances in technology, the trends in pharmaceutical packaging are changing faster than ever before. Here we explain some major trends in pharma packaging that you should expect to see more of in the upcoming months and years.

The need for flexibility

In the product packaging world, “flexible packaging” has a very specific meaning. However, we’re using the term more figuratively here. Because pharmaceutical companies often distribute their products worldwide, this global distribution network has to accommodate varying health standards and regulations. Obviously, this can be a major challenge, hence the demand for flexible packaging and labeling companies.

Case in point: the lack of a global serialization standard. According to Pharmaceutical Online:

“A continuing challenge for drug manufacturers managing serialization is the navigation of different standards within markets. A single, global serialization standard continues to be an elusive moving target — even for neighboring markets that exhibit only slight differences. This challenge continues to fuel the need for flexible equipment. For manufacturers producing medicines for multiple countries on a single processing line, serialized data needs to vary accordingly.”

The need for packaging changes because of improved formulations

Previously, many common pharmaceuticals were created using traditional small-molecule formulations; however, biologics have opened up an exciting new frontier. But already there have been some cases where these new drugs have interacted with packaging materials. That’s just one dramatic example of the ways that new drugs shape the future of pharmaceutical packaging. While there will always be a demand for traditional methods like printing adhesive labels, new types of packaging and labeling will evolve with the drugs they contain.

After all, new and improved formulations must be delivered safely to the consumer, and for some companies, this means investing in expanded content labels as a way to provide more in-depth information and ensure consumer safety. According to a 2012 report on pharmaceutical labeling and its role in customer safety published by International Pharmaceutical Industry, up to 31% of prescriptions never actually get collected, and 40% of those that do will not be taken as directed. As a result, the importance of correctly printing adhesive labels with expanded warnings and directions is self evident.

The need for smaller lead times

As recently as a few years ago, the pharmaceutical industry focused on bigger production lines to increase their productivity. Today, the industry may be moving in the opposite direction. With stricter regulations, personalized drugs, new serialization standards, and changing consumer behavior, there’s a growing need to focus on smaller batches and shorter lead times. This switch from the bigger factory model to more regionalized manufacturing has been shown to be especially beneficial for serving underdeveloped markets.


Of course, these are just three of the trends shaping modern pharmaceutical packaging and labeling companies. If you are experiencing these changes, please contact the professionals at Luminer so we can ensure your packaging labels are always up to date. For more information on printing adhesive labels or other types of custom labels, get in touch with us today.