Selecting paperboard for packaging:
- Pharmaceutical prescription-only products
- Veterinary prescription-only products
Confidence, health and clinical appeal
Prescribed pharmaceuticals cover a wide range of products, all of which have the basic aim of restoring or improving one’s health. These products are prescribed for the treatment and cure of illnesses and injuries. They convey a sense of confidence in scientific knowledge and practised medical experience - qualities which have to be expressed by the packages containing them.
Pharmaceuticals are usually packed in primary containers. These containers, together with dispersing aids and leaflets, are packed in cartons for security and protection. Cartons also provide printed information about the contents and their use. It is vital that the package reaches the customer in perfect condition. The main criteria when choosing paperboard for prescribed pharmaceuticals are strength, durability, printability and, overall, clinical appeal.
Choice of paperboard
The use of prescribed pharmaceuticals is growing as a result of the accelerated growth of efficient treatments and cures. Brand identity is becoming increasingly important, even in this end use where high ethical standards prevail. The promotional effect is, however, not primarily directed towards the patient, since the choice of treatment is made by the prescribing doctor. The choice is based on medical and safety factors, together with the trustworthiness and reliability which is associated with the brand image.
The promotional aspects of the package are mainly its contribution to product safety together with a highly clinical appeal and good print quality. A distinct contrast between the surface of the paperboard and the print is required to achieve a clear and readable text. Hence important promotional characteristics of the paperboard are whiteness, smoothness and surface finish. Graphical presentation, product safety and clinical appeal require pure virgin fibres. The clinical appeal is enhanced by a white or cream reverse side. Together with selected coating ingredients, the use of virgin fibres ensures good light stability.
The main protectional aspect of the package is product safety. The integrity of the contents can be ensured by incorporating a tamper evident feature into the package design. A strong paper board is required to keep the product safe from physical hazards in distribution, storage and handling. The protection characteristics have to last until the contents are fully consumed. The carton may be opened and closed many times, hence the closures need to withstand handling without failing in function and appearance. It is also vital that the text printed on the carton remains clear for as long as needed.
Important protective characteristics of the paperboard are folding endurance and compression strength. Good creasing and gluing proper ties are necessary to ensure that the package is strong enough. A smooth surface preserves the printed information. Product safety, where the product is packed in contact with, or in close proximity to, the paperboard is achieved by the use of pure virgin fibres and validated by meeting internationally accepted standards of safety, e. g. BGVV approval and good manufacturing practice standards like ISO 9000 and RAL pharma.
Printing and conversion
To obtain efficiency and runnability in printing and conversion, a flat, stable and dust free paperboard with a high degree of consistency is required. Good absorption and drying properties, as well as good cutting, creasing and gluing properties are important. Thus a high print quality is ensured, whilst process stoppages and material waste are minimised.
The cartons are usually rectangular in cross section, with tuck-in-flap closures. Side seamed cartons are erected, filled and closed on packaging machines. Leaflets and supporting fitments are frequently inserted. The packaging machines require low creasing resistance and low carton opening force. For small boxes, the low opening force is very important. In order to minimise process stoppages in the packaging line, consistency in stiffness and thickness and a dust free paperboard are vital. Otherwise optical sensing devices, vacuum cleaning systems and moving parts of the machine are affected.