In this article, No. 5 in our series, we focus on pharmaceutical labels, which are often printed on certified substrates and require special attention in terms of brand protection and anti-counterfeiting.
Image quality of pharmaceutical labels
Pharmaceutical labels include drug and medical labels, among others. These differ from any other label type in that they are often subject to counterfeiting. To protect brands from bad practices, label converters have to invest in additional brand protection measures such as micro text and raised images. Apart from that, pharmaceutical labels require fine details and are often printed on certified substrates.
Above anything else, pharmaceutical labels need to be clearly legible for the end user, even the smallest letters and number. For the label converter this means an investment in high-resolution printing technology. For this, digital presses equipped with dry toner are your best choice, as they can achieve a print resolution of 1200 dpi and give consistent results. In other words, every label will look exactly the same – which is simply unattainable with UV inkjet, where variation is almost unavoidable. Any malfunction of the nozzle has a direct impact on print quality. Other technologies (liquid toner and UV inkjet) have a lower resolution of 800-360 dpi.
In order to outsmart counterfeiters label, converters and brand owners have a couple of options. Build counterfeit deterrence, product authentication and brand protection technologies into the design of the label or package from the very beginning; that is the first possibility. Another option is to combine technologies to provide the most effective overall brand protection solution and change the solutions on a frequent basis in order to keep ahead of the counterfeiter. Lastly, making each individual package or label unique is another anti-ounterfeiting option. In other words, it’s all about being unique, being able to distinguish the genuine product from the fake one.
The substrates used by the pharmaceutical industry are in many cases certified by the brand owner. Altering the composition can lead to requalification, which is highly undesirable, both for the printer and the brand owner. Dry toner provides the ability to print on all standard materials without any primer or pretreatment.
Filip Weymans is VP Global Marketing for Xeikon. For more info, visit www.Flintgrp.com/Labelexpo.