How to Avoid Errors in Packaging and Labeling During Pharma Product Launches

It takes several years to successfully launch a product in the pharmaceutical industry. While research and development plays the most important role, packaging and labeling should also be considered from the beginning. Errors that emerge due to incorrect packaging or labeling are not only very costly, they can also consume a lot of time when it comes to rectification.

In general, packaging fulfils three major functions: safety, logistics and marketing. When it comes to errors in physical packaging, they often become life-threatening. The prevention of errors at this stage is as essential as preventing errors in the drug development process. Equipment failure, dysfunctional components or ink bleeding through the packaging into the product are just some errors than can occur.

Labeling errors should also be avoided. These can occur at any time and in any industry: misspelled texts, wrong product names, incorrect translations or incorrect fonts are some examples. Another potential issue is where the size relation between trade name and generic name doesn't match regulatory agency requirements. The omission of country-specific information such as required warnings is another common labeling error. In some cases, it is not the pharmaceutical company who is responsible for creating the errors. When it comes to the artwork and carton printing, suppliers become part of the launch process. To guarantee error-free labeling, suppliers must be able to print artwork as developed.

When it comes to packaging and labeling, the question is: How can common packaging and labeling errors be avoided or at least reduced?

Communication is key.

Make sure all key stakeholders are involved in the product planning process. To avoid packaging errors, it is necessary to leave enough time to create suitable packaging. One of the main challenges within the pharmaceutical manufacturing process are different sizes for the same product. A blister, for example, can contain ten or 20 pills. A larger quantity requires different packaging. Therefore, product modifications should always be communicated in time to ensure they can be considered before it is too late – errors can be costly.

Learn from your mistakes.

Learning from mistakes is necessary to ensure that failures don't reoccur. Having the knowledge of what can go wrong helps to identify potential risks for future projects. Therefore, evaluating project performance is a necessary step you should always keep in mind.

Further readings:
http://www.pharmaqualityexchange.com/en/documents/document/understanding-medical-device-labeling-regulations-in-the-us-eu-and-china
http://www.pharmaqualityexchange.com/en/documents/document/how-to-make-pharma-codes-readable
https://www.bioprocessonline.com/doc/how-to-successfully-manage-packaging-and-labeling-during-pharma-product-launches-0001