Attendees got an inside look at the company’s i.Lab, which details the latest developments in RFID, and how they can work for the pharma industry. Meanwhile, the Concept Lab tour allowed the company to showcase its R&D capabilities. In addition, label printers were able to network and collaborate with Avery Dennison experts, learning how they can improve their pharma labeling business.
“This event is an opportunity to continue to learn how to differentiate your businesses,” said Nick Tucci, Avery Dennison’s vice president and general manager, Label and Graphic Materials (LGM), North America. “We see pharma as a growth segment, and we’re making significant investments here in development. And it’s a great way for us to earn more of your trust in our business and our capabilities.”
Pharma represents a significant opportunity for label converters, as global pharma sales reached $952 billion in 2018, up nearly $100 billion from 2017. The vast majority of those sales come from the United States, which spent $485 billion in this market, up 5.2% over the previous year.
“The biggest reasons for the gains in this segment are an aging population and the availability of generic drugs,” noted Austin Adair, leadership development program at Avery Dennison.
Avery Dennison features four different adhesives in its pharmaceutical portfolio – S727, S717P, S692NP, and S246. The company’s dedicated range of facestocks include Pharmaceutical Cast Gloss+, a cast coated paper that is ultra-smooth and features high strength, and Pharmaceutical High Gloss, a non-case coated calendared high gloss paper stock featuring excellent gloss and UV printability for high-quality printing and diecutting. In addition, Avery Dennison’s film facestocks offer flexibility and durability for a wide range of pharma applications.
“Pharmaceutical labeling is a key area of our business and we are investing heavily – with dedicated experts, laboratory equipment, technical capabilities, and events like this – all for our customers,” added Mariana Rodriguez, business director, Intelligent Labels, Avery Dennison. “We’re experiencing growth in this area, and we want to work with you and your company to ensure you’re positioned to win with innovative materials, marketing programs, and technical support you need to confidently supply end users in these spaces.”
The Pharma Converter Academy also emphasized regulations and compliance normally associated with pharma packaging. According to Jeffrey Keithline of Keller and Heckman, “Drug product containers and closures must not be reactive, additive, or absorptive so as to alter the safety, identity, strength, quality or purity of the drug.”
A new drug application (NDA) must include the manufacture description and packaging of the drug, and the FDA will use a Drug Master File (DMF) system to allow packaging material suppliers to submit info directly to the agency. DMFs are confidential, where they are reviewed by the FDA on behalf of an NDA applicant. These files will include features such as the description of the packaging type.
Keithline added that there are greater requirements for food packaging than drug packaging, due to the high exposure risks from food packaging. Post-consumer recycled plastics also pose a problem in pharma packaging, and he cautioned that they should not be used.
“One of the challenges with recycled content is you might have impurities or contaminants that you don’t realize that are there,” said Keithline.
RFID labeling as the potential to make the biggest inroads in pharma. While apparel is perhaps the best known for tagging its garments, smart labeling in the pharma sector could save a considerable amount of lives in the process.
According to Jay Wittmann, product manager, Intelligent Labels, Avery Dennison, pharma is the fastest growing segment of RFID. This market is expected to grow by a 20% rate in the future, especially with anti-counterfeiting and track and trace capabilities growing in popularity.
There are a host of benefits to RFID labeling in pharma:
- Higher inventory visibility and accuracy
- Effective retail management
- Improve patient and consumer safety and care
- Automate payments and increase profitability
- Increase engagement with the consumer
- Reduce product expiration, shrinkage and waste
- Decrease supply chain and equipment costs
- Prevent medical errors due to misidentification
In general, hospitals have the ability to keep updated inventory and billing information while also controlling inventory costs and tracking recalled items all the way back to the patient. RFID can also ensure that the right product goes to the right patient, further improving patient safety.
In a breakout session, Avery Dennison’s Michael Welch added that 5-7% of world trade is counterfeit, and the global economic value of counterfeit and pirated products is valued at $650 billion.
Wittmann noted that counterfeit pharmaceuticals represents the biggest counterfeit market at an estimated value of $200 billion. Each year, there are over 125,000 deaths from non-compliance, and $454 million is lost from clinical drug diversions.
In the future, RFID pharma could see medications handled by a virtual pharmacist, patients actively alerted of possible drug interactions, dosage reminders and alerts, and enhanced drug efficacy.
For more pictures from the event, click here for a slideshow.