Printing Company Adds Serialization to Cartons and Labels

Pharmagraphics LLC (Greensboro, NC) has developed a method to add serialized 2-D bar codes onto folding cartons and pressure-sensitive labels for pharmaceutical secondary packaging.

The provider of printed pharmaceutical components has actually been printing Data Matrix bar codes for years, beginning in the 1990s, says Ernest Chaplin, vice president of sales and marketing. At that time, however, the firm used conventional presses, both flexographic and offset, to print Data Matrix codes encoded with the same numeric number.

Chaplin says, “We were leaders in 2-D codes, at a time in the industry when the technology had processing issues for high-speed lines, so companies were slow to adopt the symbology. It is nice to see that the code now has an even more robust benefit to pharmaceutical packaging.”

To include serialized Data Matrix codes on cartons and labels, Pharmagraphics will blend both conventional press technologies with in-line variable-data digital print heads. “On-demand printing and serialization for these components accomplishes integral compliance at lower cost and high speed,” says Chaplin.

Pharmagraphics is using digital printing with conventional press printing to add serialized 2-D Data Matrix to cartons and labels.

The codes are dormant when printed. To activate the codes that will be used to meet electronic pedigree requirements, Pharmagraphics has teamed up with Secure Symbology Inc. (SSI; Wayne, NJ) to provide a complete solution.

As the codes on the labels or cartons are read by SSI’s system, they are activated and recorded in a secure database and immediately “hashed” with six additional numbers, as Chaplin reports. This new number is unique and prevents diversion and counterfeiting, he says. “This is a dynamic and robust technology from SSI,” Chaplin says.

For more details on how SSI’s solution works, see the December 2007 feature, “Adding up the Numbers.”

Chaplin reports that many pharmaceutical companies he has spoken to recently are “close to adopting 2-D codes for serialization.” He adds: “Whether the California State Board of Pharmacy deadline is 2009 or 2011, these companies are not in a position to stop.”

Chaplin continues: “They must move forward to implement a system as quickly as they can. Primarily, what we are hearing is that if we can get this preprinted, we can help. They are saying, ‘How can you help us put a track-and-trace and an e-pedigree mechanism on our printed components?”

Pharmagraphics LLC is a Clondalkin Group company.


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