Security Solutions in Packaging Printing for the Pharmaceutical Industry

2 May 2007 (Last Updated May 2nd, 2007 18:30)

The PrintCity activity group 'packaging, commercial and sheetfed' (AG PCS) have announced a new security project. The project is targeted at pharmaceutical brand owners.

PrintCity alliance members Jura JSP, Kurz, MAN Roland, Merck, M-real, Sun Chemical and Weilburger will be working together to share information intensively to create a valuable 'knowledge base' for packaging printers and converters serving the pharmaceutical market and brand owners. Later on, this study can be easily extended to other interested markets.

This project is being led by Thomas Scholler of Jura JSP, with the activity group manager PCS for PrintCity being Siegfried Bradl.

"WHO has estimated that more than 10% of the global medicines market is counterfeit."

This new PrintCity project is expected to conclude in the fourth quarter of 2007, following an exhaustive analysis of subjects including:

  • Overview of today's available solutions and technologies in security printing for the packaging industry
  • Best practice solutions for product anti-counterfeiting
  • Creating of 'added-value' packaging involving latest brand protection
    methods
  • Cost / benefit analysis of alternatives, to assist investment
    decisions

PHARMACEUTICAL COUNTERFEITING

Although the magnitude of the global pharmaceutical counterfeiting problem is impossible to measure accurately, the World Health Organisation has estimated that more than 10% of the global medicines market is counterfeit. Similar estimates for medicines consumed across all developing countries indicate 25% as being counterfeit, with the figure being as high as 50% in some markets.

Additionally, The Centre for Medicines in the Public Interest in the United States predicts that counterfeit drug sales will reach $75bn globally by 2010, an increase of more than 90% since 2005.

The risk to the health of people being dispensed fake pharmaceuticals is of the highest priority to the industry, but the damage to pharmaceutical company profits and brand reputation is of great commercial significance also.

The integrity of any pharmaceutical drugs can be protected by the
application of a variety of anti-counterfeiting packaging techniques, often in combination to increase protection.

This PrintCity 'Connection of Competence' study will give
professionals access to cross-industry knowledge and innovative solutions to the issues facing pharmaceutical packaging printers.

In particular PrintCity and its members are amongst the leading sources of technical, production and security-focused solutions, to fight against growing drug counterfeiting operations worldwide.

PACKAGING, COMMERCIAL AND SHEETFED ACTIVITY GROUP

The situation in the field of packaging printing is marked by the fact that there is a huge variety in the printed products themselves, the printing materials used and the printing and post-processing techniques involved.

As products increasingly resemble each other, the packaging takes on a role in establishing the image and is becoming a decisive sales factor.

"The risk to the health of people being dispensed fake pharmaceuticals is of the highest priority to the industry."

Product cycles are short. Cardboard is the most common substrate for this market segment, but foil printing for a wide range of different plastic or metal substrates is also in demand.

Packaging printers generally employ more than 50 people, are internationally active and highly automated. The services offered by the printers are increasingly also covering aspects such as logistics and shipping.

While print runs for product packaging are stable or actually decreasing due to demographic and social changes, high growth rates are expected in printing for products in the pharmaceuticals sector.

PrintCity's packaging, commercial and sheetfed activity group is concerned with the following topics and trends: food packaging, UV printing and special varnishes, improved colour density on premium packaging, front and back printing, RFID, trademarking and brand protection, for instance using integrated security elements in packaging production.

David Stamp, director of marketing and communications at PrintCity comments, "Pharmaceutical counterfeiting is a growing problem worldwide with its effects hitting the poorest and most vulnerable people in society, particularly in the emerging markets.

"It's big business for the counterfeiters, expected to reach levels of $75bn globally by 2010, up 90% since 2005. PrintCity, an alliance of more than 30 leading suppliers to the graphic arts industry, gives guidance and advice to brand owners and converters on practical and effective anti-counterfeiting measures for the packaging of medicines and pharmaceuticals."