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Insights: Articles & Resources by Oliver Inc.


OTC & Pharma: Why Experience Matters in Finding a Packaging Provider

Working with an experienced pharmaceutical packaging partner, you can expect a streamlined process that employs creative labels, abides by all safety and regulatory requirements, and has the globally recognized certifications to give you peace of mind.

    4 minute read

When it comes to producing packaging for pharmaceuticals, consumer safety is a primary concern. Cutting corners or unknowingly overlooking safety standards and regulations can become a major liability. 

However, by working with an experienced packaging partner, you can expect a fine-tuned and streamlined process that employs creative labels, abides by all safety and regulatory requirements, and has the globally recognized certifications to give you peace of mind. 

Put simply, you have a collaborator you can trust. So what does all that experience get you?


Strict Adherence to Stringent Packaging Requirements

Given the purpose of pharmaceuticals and OTC medications, there are many safety protocols related to their packaging and labels—with exacting specifications. 

A seasoned packaging partner depends on third-party certifications to ensure their printing and packaging remains compliant and of the highest quality. A responsible provider will remain diligent in keeping their employees and technologies up to date on internationally recognized standards. 

These include ISO Quality System Certification, the Pantone Certified Printer Program, G7 Master, GMI-Prime, and others for excellence in sustainability, quality control, and color consistency.

These certifications are not achieved easily or quickly. For instance, the ISO certification involves a series of audits over an extended period of time. A manufacturer can’t become certified overnight or even over a week. It’s an ongoing process whose certification comes from years of meticulous work and hawkish attention to detail. 

The company that earns and maintains these certifications can be trusted. If you choose to work with a manufacturer that lacks certifications, you may be taking a risk in quality, safety, and reliability. 


Packaging Companies Are Routinely Audited for Quality Control

Alongside these certifications, retailers should schedule their own audits of a packaging partner. 

It’s common for a pharmaceutical company to hire third-party auditors to inspect every aspect of a prospective packaging partner’s operations to ensure they’re compliant and up to date on quality control standards. These audits include physical processes as well as online security and computer use. Nothing is taken for granted. 

Industry leaders committed to excellence in pharmaceutical packaging and labeling lean into these audits: They know how vital the processes are to their success and ability to attract future customers. 


Experienced Packaging Providers Listen and Innovate

You want a packaging partner to care about your product as much as you do. That starts with them demonstrating respect and concern for your challenges, which is where trust begins to be built. 

An experienced packaging manufacturer doesn’t get stuck in a narrow view of the process, focusing only on the product or tasks at hand. They take a more holistic approach, acknowledging a retailer’s pain points and goals. They listen, attuned to the ways in which they can guide, support, and transform your ideas into realities. 

Rather than impose a one-size-fits-all solution onto your packaging problem, a veteran packaging provider continually searches for ways to improve their craft—for instance, they’ve expanded their digital printing abilities and have incorporated extended gamut printing (see below). Their ability to innovate is usually informed by a customer-centric approach that seeks to respond directly to a new client’s needs. 


Creative Packaging and Label Choices

To meet the wide-ranging challenges pharmaceutical brands encounter, seasoned packaging providers have expertise across an abundance of packaging and labeling options. This manifests in a few ways, including anti-counterfeiting measures, extended gamut printing, and decorative effects.

Anti-counterfeiting solutions can be covert or overt authentication, employing complex inks that are tough to replicate or that rely on advanced devices calibrated to discern authenticity. For instance, thermochromic inks display concealed images when exposed to rapid temperature changes. Alternatively, tamper-evident closures and labels help retailers know whether a package has been illegitimately changed or previously opened. Anti-counterfeiting measures authenticate your brand to consumers and help prevent illicit activity. 

Extended content labels can be used in different ways, but they’re especially effective for OTC products. They enable you to include all of the important usage instructions, ingredients, and warnings in a small space. Packaging manufacturers can design extended content labels to be applied to either cartons or bottles. Customers can peel them back to reveal more information.

Extended gamut printing makes it possible for retailers to create near-exact color matches on visual elements, empowering regional brands to make private or white label over-the-counter products. This allows packaging companies to run multiple products simultaneously on what’s called a combo form, which saves press time and waste. 

Decorative effects encompass a family of visual elements and materials designed to grab a consumer’s attention and foster brand affinity. Coating and laminates provide abrasion resistance and added shine to labels, including gloss and pearlescent coatings. Inline cold foil or printing on a mylar label stock gives labels a metallic finish. 

All of these capabilities can combine for a powerful effect. So whether you’re looking for labels and packaging for an OTC item that was previously an Rx product, enhancing a current design, or hoping to provide protection and security for a new pharmaceutical product, working with an experienced packaging provider gives a special kind of assurance only they can deliver.

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