Pharmaceuticals are among the most tightly regulated products in the country, and for good reason. Even tiny errors can mean the difference between helping and harming a patient. If information is misinterpreted (or missing), these products can fail to fulfill their vital functions.
Because of this, pharmaceutical makers know that when it comes to labels, seeking out short-term bargains can lead to long-term problems. Here's why:
Cost Isn’t Everything When Choosing a Pharmaceutical Label Printer
Everyone is looking for lower prices these days, and pharmaceutical makers are no exception. With intense competition, thinning margins, and pushback from hospital supply groups, pharmaceutical companies are wise to include price as a consideration when choosing a label printer.
But savvy pharmaceutical companies know that labels are more than just ink on paper. As it turns out, a label supplier with knowledge of the particular requirements of the medical industry and the resources to support the needs of pharmaceutical customers may cost a bit more upfront -- but will reduce expenses down the road.
4 Signs a Label Printer Understands Pharmaceutical Label Needs
If you’re hunting for a new label supplier for your pharmaceutical company, no doubt you plan to vet your options, maybe even a bit more closely than you would other suppliers. Here are a few indicators to look for that will tell you a label printer understands the unique pressures of your industry and can be counted on to provide consistently high-quality labels.
1. Expert Guidance on Adhesives, Materials, and Application Surfaces
If the label on a bottle of salad dressing falls off, it’s a problem. If the label on a medicine bottle falls off, that’s life-or-death. That can’t be allowed to happen.
Moreover, pharmaceutical labels are never one-size-fits-all. Application conditions can vary widely from temperature extremes, to harsh chemical exposures. Even the specialized sterilization processes routinely used in pharmaceutical production can compromise a label not designed to withstand such processing.
Size, too, can be an issue. Smaller drug vials can present uncommonly tight circumferences, providing little surface area onto which labels can adhere. Without the right combination of the degree of pliability in the material and the proper adhesive, labels on such surfaces tend to become loose at the edges and may even fall off completely.
An expert label printer will consider the pros and cons of different label materials and adhesives, make recommendations, and back up their recommendations with reliable testing data. They will know which suppliers to turn to for materials and adhesives that have been specifically engineered and tested to perform according to the demands and challenges of the pharmaceutical industry.
2. Line Clearances
If your label printer is working on multiple product lines for you, there may be similarities in the look of the labels — but some very critical differences. You want to make sure elements of one product line don’t get mixed up with the other (or even with the labels of an entirely different company).
Line clearance is an essential step in the pharmaceutical label printing process. A line clearance involves a complete reset of the production line between print jobs, including removal of all raw materials, inks, and plates away from the press. The purpose of this exercise is to eliminate any opportunity for an operator to inadvertently blend any part of one job with another job.
3. Ability to Handle QR Codes and Other Modern Label Elements
Counterfeiting is, unfortunately, rampant in the pharmaceutical field. It’s a dangerous practice that can both harm patients and diminish the reputation of drug makers.
Applying security labels to pharmaceutical products, or even integrating features used in those types of labels into pharma labeling, can help pharmaceutical companies strike back against counterfeiters. The features of security labels include elements that make them hard to replicate. Many of those features also facilitate tracking products through commerce or tracing them back to their origins. For example, barcodes and other unique identifiers can be applied to pharmaceuticals, including in some cases to each individual pill. Security elements like these enable improved awareness of distribution patterns and can become invaluable in rare situations where products are found where they are not expected.
4. A Full-Time Quality Control Staff
If the writing on a pharmaceutical label is not completely legible and accurate, that’s a big problem. A conscientious label printer will have dedicated quality control staff to check each letter, number, and punctuation mark for fidelity to the original customer-supplied artwork.
A misprint can change the meaning of instructions and warnings, which can have dire consequences when it comes to pharmaceuticals. So, a reputable label printer will employ a full-time quality control team to check their work throughout the production, packing and shipping processes.
To ensure your label printer maintains the highest quality standards, look for ISO 9001 registration.
Contact a Label Printer That Knows Pharmaceuticals
At The Label Printers, we have supported our partners in the pharmaceutical industry for decades. We built our quality procedures from the ground up with the help of our pharmaceutical customers. Thanks to those close relationships, we were able to become one of the first label printers in Illinois to qualify for ISO 9001 registration.
To talk about how we can help fulfill the special requirements of your pharmaceutical or medical product label, contact us today.
Want to know more about what goes into a great label? Download our free Custom Label Buying Guide.