Back to overview

“The print helps against counterfeit packaging”

EXPERT INTERVIEW: Three questions for... Rainer Schuller. He is responsible for preprint management for pharma and healthcare at Constantia Flexibles, and advises our international pharmaceutical customers on the printing of medical packaging, for example. We asked him a few questions about this topic...

Constantia Flexibles: Mr. Schuller, tablet packs and many other medicinal products almost all look the same. Why should this change?

Rainer Schuller: It is definitely worthwhile for our pharmaceutical industry customers to invest some money in the individualization of their tablet packs or other medical packagings. On the one hand, it is an important unique selling point that is meant to distinguish them from competing products or to delimit them from similar products and on the other hand, a special print protects against counterfeits - which have become a big problem for the medicinal product industry in recent years.

Constantia Flexibles: What possibilities do customers have when designing their medical packaging?

Rainer Schuller: There is a large number of typographical solutions for a sophisticated design that also makes the packaging safer. One could for example print patterns on the external and sealing side of a tablet pack, i.e. the shiny or matt side of the aluminum foil.

Various color effects are also possible - the secret here is to choose the strongest colors possible, so that they look good on the foil. But one could also print a more realistic pattern or picture on the packaging - this allows directly addressing the target group and simultaneously creating a positive sentiment. The illustration also allows relating more directly to the intended purpose and thus increases user-friendliness. This also concerns the individual packaging that is taken out of the box and stored in the bedside table drawer, as well as the one that is taken on holiday or business.

Concerning tubes for example, we have already grown so accustomed to this comfort that no manufacturer would think of simply printing the word “ointment” or “pain”; rather, the entire marketing concept of the product is conveyed. The food industry has been doing this for decades using a considerable advertising budget. So why do we not also use these possibilities for pharmaceutical primary packagings? Even these are unconsciously emotionally rated by the prescribing physician, the patient or the user.

Apart from pictures or patterns, other prints are naturally also possible. One of our high-tech solutions allows to convert a particular illustration into variable lines (portrait) and curved lines (logos) using a licensed safety software.

Our so-called “safety print” on aluminum also gives the possibility of integrating a hidden feature, which is only known by the manufacturer, into the safety print on aluminum.

Constantia Flexibles: Do you have other examples of high-tech solutions when it comes to printing?

Rainer Schuller: Specific design elements can for example be printed with a “colour-shifting ink”. The colour of these surfaces change depending on the viewing angle. They can for example flip from dark green to dark red.

Another advanced technology to individualize medical packaging is a hologram that is created especially for the customer with a single-colored, tailor-made print. This gives an infinite number of possibilities and can also precisely address the wishes of the customer: Company logos, illustrations, chasers or true colour holograms can be created and combined with a continuous print. Since holograms can only be generated with great technical effort, the safety of the product is of course equally high.

Constantia Flexibles: Thank you for this interesting and instructive discussion! This provides us with one or two aspects on which to reflect.

Contact: Rainer Schuller

Background information on the Pharma Division:
We are a global provider of flexible packaging solutions for the pharmaceutical and “Home & Personal Care” industries, with six locations in Austria, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain and Spain which belong to the Pharma Division. The Pharma Division accounts for approximately 14.7% of the Group’s sales. In addition to these six locations, pharmaceutical products are also produced in the US, Mexico, India and Turkey.