Alcoa Develops Shrink-Sleeve Technology for Pharma Applications
Alcoa Flexible Packaging (Richmond, VA) will soon bring a food and beverage packaging application to the pharmaceutical arena, the company recently announced.
The packaging supplier is about to incorporate its shrink-sleeve label technology into a new line of type 2 diabetes medication from Novartis (Basel, Switzerland).
Under a recently announced agreement, Alcoa will fit its shrink-sleeve labels to Novartis’s Starlix nateglinide drug. This application marks Alcoa’s latest child-resistant/senior-friendly design. The physicians’ sample packaging system employs a 45 cm3 Kerr bottle/closure system, covered by Alcoa’s reversible printed shrink-sleeve. The sleeve is designed to provide tamper evidence, product identification integrity, and brand/product recognition.
The Starlix package is gravure printed, with a specially designed system of white ink for maximum opacity. This white ink covers a pressure-sensitive label that is applied to the bottle before the shrink label, a step that ensures product identity if the shrink label is ever fully removed. Most of the label remains on the bottle, which allows physicians to better differentiate between Novartis’s products and between various strengths within particular product lines, since these variations are color coded distinctly on the label.
Cost savings also play a role in this new application. According to representatives from both companies, the per-unit cost of the labels has been decreased by 85% from the previous $10 approximate per-unit cost. Overall, the material savings adds up to approximately $2.5 million, which justified Novartis’s upgrading to high-speed equipment. In addition, says a Novartis representative, storage of the container is much more efficient, since there is no excess packaging. That fact simplifies the process of sample storage for both sales professionals and the doctor’s staff.
Currently, the Starlix shrink-sleeves are manufactured at Alcoa’s printing plant in Downingtown, PA, using PVC film. Starlix samples are available globally for sampling.
Alcoa also manufactures a variety of packaging materials such as extrusion and adhesive laminated pouch materials, overwrap and liner stock, blister lidding foil, thermoformed trays, cable wrap, plastic shrink-sleeve body labels, shrink film, and laminated foil.