Pharmaceutical Packaging and Labeling

By: Benicio Brown

Pharmaceutical companies introduce new products to market, on a regular basis. Millions of dollars of research and testing must be utilized, in order to do so successfully. But, that is only the beginning.

Another very important aspect, of introducing a new drug or drugs to the market, is the packaging and labeling of each individual product. Without it, these drugs would not be available to the public. Fortunately, there is a wide range of packaging equipment manufacturers and companies that provide packaging services, on a contractual basis.

Performing a simple search, on Google or other search engine, will bring up a list of these manufacturers and providers. Recommended search terms include ‘pharmaceutical packaging directories’ and ‘pharmaceutical packaging supplies provider directory’.

(Some of these companies also manufacturer packaging equipment for other industries, as well. They include the food supplement and confectionery industries.)

Whether there is a need for bottles, poly or plastic bags, tubes, jars, vials, capsules, syringes, pill packs, rubber stoppers or any number of other options, there are numerous resources available.

Just as important are the packaging products used, enabling the pharmaceuticals to be shipped. This includes items such as shrink wrap, clamshell boxes, hang tags, blister packaging, bag sealers, corrugated boxes, bubble wrap, strapping tape, Styrofoam peanuts, etc.

Those in need of pharmaceutical packaging equipment now have the option of purchasing new, used or even reconditioned equipment. If a company is just starting out or has only one or two products to package, opting for used equipment might be the better choice. They can then upgrade, as they see their profits increasing.

More and more companies, who are not normally associated with the pharmaceutical packaging industry, are making the informed decision to ‘jump on the bandwagon’. This is due, in part, to the fact that pharmaceutical sales are on the increase… a phenomenon that typically occurs as the economy struggles. (Depression and other related problems increase, during these periods.)

Companies that manufacture pharmaceutical packaging equipment realize the need for and importance of functionality and flexibility. They are also fully aware that their equipment must meet strict FDA standards. It is extremely important that they provide the safest, most efficient and up-to-date equipment possible.

What might be surprising to some is the fact that there are several pharmaceutical packaging equipment companies that have always been and remain to be family-owned and operated. Often times, these same companies are willing to go one step further, when it comes to issues such as customer service and/or assisting new customers in choosing the best equipment for their immediate needs. The biggest and most well known does not always mean the best.

Proper package labeling is also a very important piece of the pharmaceutical production and marketing puzzle.

In 2005, the Food and Drug Administration introduced a mandatory labeling system known as Structured Product Labeling or SPL. These changes, initiated in computer compatible format, were enforced to increase patient safety and make it easier for them to understand information and instructions pertaining to medications they were taking.

Not long after this change, the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products followed suit by initiating their own product labeling standards. (This agency is the European equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration.)

The FDA is also very strict when it comes to information that MUST be included on a pharmaceutical label. There are absolutely no exceptions, to these rules. Any changes in labeling must be approved by the agency, before the product can be re-distributed to consumers.

Not surprising, pharmaceutical labeling is getting more sophisticated all the time. This helps to track and shut down counterfeit drug rings. Barcodes have now been added to pharmaceutical labels, as well.

These barcodes can be encoded with raw data, text or a combination of the two. They are especially helpful when labeling small jars or bottles, because they can accommodate up to 50 characters and symbols that can still be read easily.

The actual machines, which do the labeling, have remained somewhat constant throughout the years. What has changed is the ink that is utilized, etc.

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Visit Keller Crescent at for more information on pharmaceutical packaging, and for a wide variety of pharmaceutical labels, folding cartons, inserts, outserts, specialty labeling, and much more.

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