It’s a brand new year, which means many manufacturers are embracing new regulations and emerging trends within their industries. If your work is in the pharmaceutical field and are wondering how these considerations might impact your packaging and labeling, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s post, we’ll discuss just a few of the new pharmaceutical packaging and labeling considerations for 2019.

Serialized Tracking and Tracing

Serialization has become an important factor in pharmaceutical labeling and packaging within recent years. Although 31% of prescriptions that are issued do not end up getting collected, the industry as a whole has bigger problems to be concerned about. Counterfeiting is very much a hot button issue for pharmaceuticals, as counterfeit products that manage to make their way into the supply chain cost the industry nearly $40 billion per year. The Drug Supply Chain Security Act, which was passed in 2013, brought gradual deadlines for every party involved in the manufacturing and distribution of pharmaceuticals. Near the end of last year, it became vital to include the ability to track and trace individual medication products to ensure compliance. Those in the industry must now include serialized tracking options in the types of pharmaceutical labels and packaging utilized to meet those legal standards. The codes included are scanned and verified at various times during the process.

Anti-Counterfeiting Labels and Packaging

Serialized codes are not the only way pharmaceutical businesses must take steps to prevent counterfeiting. Packaging closures must be included in order to completely seal these pharmaceuticals; doing so will minimize counterfeiting risks throughout the supply chain. Many types of pharmaceutical labels are also getting the security treatment as businesses explore the use of invisible security inks. These inks can be used to print microtext or small QR codes, allowing for better and more subtle tracking. Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags are also used to track pharmaceuticals, which are appealing to many businesses due to the fact they’re difficult to counterfeit.

Use of Innovative Packaging

Of course, it’s not all about counterfeiting protection. Due to emerging trends in medicine (namely, biologics), those in charge of packaging have to innovate in order to keep up with newfound needs. Biologic medicines must be made in smaller batches and are more at-risk for contamination. This can make the complex process of packaging design even more difficult, as the packaging needs to protect the medications from degradation due to temperature or other environmental factors. Different kinds of plastics are becoming more popular for this purpose, as there are those that provide protective barriers without stabilizing agents. Other materials such as glass or silicon oil cannot be used when packaging biologics, so packaging companies will need to continue to utilize creative materials throughout 2019.

There’s also a continued focus on sustainability for the types of pharmaceutical labels and packaging used. An increased demand for eco-friendly self-adhesive materials (a.k.a. liner-less labels) will likely impact the way in which label printers continue to operate throughout the year. By simply eliminating the wasteful liner, printing companies can appeal to brands that are trying to go green. And while biodegradable packaging has widespread appeal among natural cosmetics brands, pharmaceuticals will are often subject to stricter standards that will force packaging and label design experts to think outside the box (literally).

The year is still extremely young, which means we may not know exactly what the rest of 2019 will bring for pharmaceutical labeling and packaging. But we can only assume that the values that proved important at the end of last year will continue their dominance into the next. For assistance on how to make your specific types of pharmaceutical labels and packaging stand out and comply with industry regulations, please contact us today.