With sophisticated standards for safety, pharmaceutical brands need a dependable printing and packaging partner that gets what’s at stake: your customer’s safety and brand’s integrity.
As you examine potential pharmaceutical packaging suppliers, here are several of the most important qualities you should look for in manufacturers.
Prioritize Sustainable Packaging
It’s no secret brands are shifting toward greener packaging, but environmentally conscious consumers are wising up. They know how to distinguish between brands guilty of “greenwashing” and those genuinely committed to sustainability.
A truly sustainable pharmaceutical company will adhere to several benchmark practices for sustainable packaging design.
Leaning into the so-called “circular economy” model, they will look for every way possible to reduce, reuse, and recycle pharmaceutical packaging materials. This includes reducing single-use plastics, finding new uses for old materials, and utilizing post-consumer recycled paper.
When selecting the right materials, the best pharmaceutical packaging companies will offer you paperboard sourced from responsibly managed forests—as certified by the nonprofits Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI), and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). They’ll also give you the choice of other sustainable substrate alternatives, such as sugarcane bagasse, casein (derived from milk protein), and cotton- and hemp-based materials.
Sustainable pharmaceutical packaging companies embrace right-size packaging principles, utilizing only as much material as is needed to protect and secure your products.
Lastly, don’t overlook the value working with a domestic packaging partner brings to the sustainability equation, either. Shorter supply chains means lower carbon emissions, lessening your impact on the environment. And you’re likely to have better control over the quality of your product.
Offer Flexible Printing Options
The best pharmaceutical packaging companies have the ability to tailor their printing methods to suit your particular situation and goals.
They’re not glued to a single approach.
Also referred to as offset, traditional printing applies images to different pharmaceutical packaging materials such as paperboard, cardboard, plastic, and sustainable alternatives. It uses metal plates with etched images that are inked, transferred to a rubber cylinder, and then to the material.
The two types of offset printing are lithography (“litho”) and flexography (“flexo”). Litho utilizes fixed plates and prints up to eight colors in one pass, while flexo uses flexible plates and prints on curved or uneven surfaces.
Offset printing has many advantages for pharmaceutical packaging. Most importantly, it’s incredibly cost-effective for large quantities of the same visual design, and produces high-quality images with vivid colors and sharp details. A traditional printer can control the ink flow and add special decorative effects such as inline cold foil and hot foil stamping, specialty coatings and laminates, and debossing/embossing.
Traditional printing is also ideal for pharma packaging requiring complex imagery or visual designs.
A more modern way to print images on substrates, digital printing uses electronic files instead of metal plates. The image is printed directly onto the material with toner and ink. Digital printing also features a simpler process and faster turnaround time than traditional printing. An experienced pharmaceutical packaging supplier can accommodate either method.
Digital printing has many advantages for pharma packaging:
- Quick delivery. You don’t have to make plates or set up the press—just change the electronic image and press a button.
- Customization and personalization. You can use variable data printing to create different versions of your packaging for different customers, regions, or promotions—changing the color, text, and image as you wish.
- Low- and medium-volume runs. You don’t need to print a large quantity to save money with digital printing. You can print as few or as many as you need. This is great for testing new designs or marketing campaigns.
- Ready-to-print. You can print any time you want with electronic files. For example, Titleist printed a special package for golf balls for the 2016 World Series winner right as the late-night game ended. With digital printing, the packaging was ready to ship the afternoon of the next day.
Extended Gamut Printing
A better way to print with spot colors, extended gamut printing creates custom inks that match digital files. Pharmaceutical brands like extended gamut printing because it gives them more control over the colors, but it can be a time-consuming process. The printer has to mix the inks and adjust the color for each run. Plus, it can create more printed waste, if poorly implemented.
Extended gamut printing uses digital technology to pre-mix the inks and print them directly on the material. It can copy more than 1,800 spot inks with high quality and accuracy. It also enables you to print different products at the same time.
Its benefits are lower costs, faster delivery, and less waste (when done properly) for the printer and the customer. You get the packaging you want with the colors you want, without paying more or waiting longer.
Extended gamut printing is especially useful for private labels and white labels. These are pharma products made by one manufacturer but sold by different retailers under their own brands. They often copy the packaging designs and colors of national brands to better compete with them. Extended gamut printing helps pharmaceutical brands match the colors precisely, and print them quickly and cheaply.
Manage Domestic Printing & Packaging Facilities
Working with a domestic pharmaceutical packaging partner has many benefits, especially compared to international suppliers. You save time, money, and the environment by choosing a local partner for your printing and packaging needs.
International supply chains are costly and risky, with transportation delays and disruptions. Domestic partners have shorter and simpler supply chains, which means faster delivery, lower shipping costs, and less carbon emissions.
Domestic partners have more experience and expertise in the local market. You can trust them to provide high-quality printing and packaging solutions that meet your goals and expectations. You’re also able to visit their facilities and see how they operate ethically and professionally.
Domestic partners provide a one-stop solution for printing, packaging, and fulfillment. You don’t have to deal with multiple vendors or third parties, which can cause errors, disruptions, or delays. You work closely with a domestic partner who knows your process from start to finish.
Domestic partners offer you more adaptability and sustainability options. They handle large or small orders efficiently and affordably. They customize your packaging to suit your needs and preferences. They also provide sustainable packaging materials, such as recycled paper, hemp-based or bagasse-based substrates, and paperboard from sustainable forests.
Maintain Internationally Recognized Quality Control Standards
A trustworthy pharmaceutical packaging company meets the highest industry criteria for color consistency, quality control, and environmental responsibility. It should at least have certifications from the Pantone Certified Printer Program, GMI-Prime, G7 Master, and ISO Quality System Certification.
It’s a challenging practice, with internal and external audits, to ensure high-quality pharmaceutical labels and packaging (including folding cartons), but it’s worth it. It gives you peace of mind and lets you focus on your customers’ satisfaction.
Provide Anti-Counterfeiting Packaging
Counterfeiting is a serious threat to pharmaceutical companies and their customers. Compromised medicines can be ineffective, harmful, or lack active ingredients. They can also damage the trust and reputation of your brand.
A high-quality pharmaceutical packaging company uses various methods to prevent counterfeiting and tampering with your products. These include specialty inks that are hard to copy or require special devices to verify them. For example, some inks change color with temperature or show hidden marks. Tamper-evident closure and labels reveal whether the packaging has been opened or altered.
These techniques help pharmaceutical companies keep their brand and customers safe. You don’t want to work with a packaging partner who doesn’t use them.
Working With a Industry-Leading Packaging Partner
With its exacting standards, the pharmaceutical industry requires uncompromising printing and packaging manufacturers. Regularly enlisted by national pharmaceutical companies, Oliver implements cost-effective packaging solutions that keep your consumers safe and protect brand reputation.
Continually responsive to your needs, Oliver offers a one-stop solution to your pharma packaging needs. We streamline the process, bringing design, packaging, printing, and fulfillment under the same manufacturing roof.
In Oliver, you’ll find a reliable pharmaceutical packaging firm with facilities in Ohio, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Virginia, and New York. We’re always nearby, ready to help you. Oliver has the scaling abilities of a big shop, with the flexibility and detailed care of a small one.