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Combination products improve efficiency for pharmacists

Published by
Simon Matthis - 03 Mar 2016

Pharmacists are faced with the challenge of placing more and more extensive information on leaflets and labels. The reasons for this are legal requirements, but also trends such as increasing globalisation and the multilingualism which this calls for or the increased use of images instead of text for the purposes of patient-friendliness. August Faller in Waldkirch offers pharmaceutical manufacturers combination solutions whereby a folding carton and leaflet or label are supplied as a combined package. This renders the process of packaging pharmaceutical products easier and more efficient.

Back in 2011, the EU Readability Guideline called for adaptions to pharmaceutical packaging: Since then, for reasons of better legibility, a larger font must be used on package inserts. A clear visual bordering of the language versions is intended to boost the user-friendliness of multilingual information. Additional requirements such as the separation of sections of the leaflets for medical personnel have also entailed an enlargement of leaflets. Adding to these legal requirements are trends such as the use of graphics and images as well as multi-coloured elements and increasing multilingualism. In various countries, such as e.g. Belgium or Italy, adhesive labels on medicinal product packages also serve to protect against counterfeiting. But it is also useful for documentation purposes: The doctor removes a section of the label and sticks it on the vaccination card or the patient file.

In order to keep abreast of these developments and make the packaging process easier and more efficient for pharmacists, August Faller KG is developing solutions to combine folding cartons with leaflets/labels. In this process, the folding cartons are produced, printed, stamped and glued at Faller headquarters in Waldkirch, while the leaflets are delivered from Faller’s plant in Binzen and the labels from Faller Schopfheim. The same machine that glues together the folding cartons provides the leaflet with a stick point at the same time and dispenses it into the folding carton in a fully automated process. If a label is attached to the folding carton, this takes place following the gluing in a separate labelling system. If several leaflets are to be combined with one another in the case of combination products, these may, for example, be wrapped around using a sleeve or, alternatively, stuck to one another using a label and shipped to pharmacists as a compact package. The pharmacist can then easily add the combined product to their packaging line. In doing so Faller is also solving a technical problem for customers who often do not have the option in their packaging process of dispensing two different products into one folding carton.

Alongside the trends already outlined, communication between pharmaceutical manufacturers and patients is becoming more and more important. An international pharmaceutical company turned to Faller with the hope of adding a means of communication to its folding carton for information requests from patients. There is not enough space on standard leaflets for that. Faller developed a folding carton with an external pocket in which the leaflet was inserted. The patient can give his or her contact details in one section of the leaflet, moisten the adhesive strips provided and seal these and then has a letter in the format of a postcard which he or she can send to the pharmacist to request further information on certain pharmaceutical products.

In addition to the EU regulations, German pharmaceutical manufacturers are increasingly having to take into account the specificities of markets outside of Europe in the course of increasing globalisation. In Japan, medicinal product packages often contain two leaflets: One of these is taken by the doctor or the pharmacist, and the second is intended for the patient himself or herself. Faller developed two leaflets for one inhaler for a major German pharmaceutical manufacturer. The leaflets were conflated in the plant in Binzen, banded and sent to the pharmacists as a finished combination product.

The customer also benefits from a faster packaging process that increases its OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency) and can simultaneously rely on a maximum degree of quality in the manufacture of combination products by Faller. “The Faller Group continually invests in the modernisation of its production facilities”, says Dunja Gehring, Key Account Manager at Faller. “This allows us to stay at the forefront of technology. Our many years of experience in the field of combined solutions make us an ideal partner for pharmacists when it comes to combination products.”