Soft Market For Multipanel Designs




Multipanel cartons—those with extra panels that lift to reveal additional text— were touted six months to a year ago as the future for drug cartons. They were conceived to give pharmaceutical marketers more surface area to accommodate Drug Facts, multiple-language content, or other additional text. However, they have not penetrated the market as predicted.

MeadWestvaco Healthcare Packaging (Mebane, NC), for instance, has developed five unique designs for extended-content cartons (ECCs). "We have shown the samples, and what we found is that in most cases our customers are not willing to absorb the additional cost," says Tim Freeze, manager of products, services, and systems. "They have actually fit the Drug Facts onto existing packages. Drug Facts on many products, like 24- or 28-count analgesics, take up all the panels except the front panel of the carton."

Ernie Chaplin, vice president of sales, marketing, and product licensing for Pharmagraphics (Greensboro, NC), says his company's experience has been the same. Pharmagraphics offers a multipanel folding carton with four extendable panels, but "we're not seeing anyone who is going beyond fifth panel," he sums up.

Alcan Packaging offers multipanel cartons with fifth and sixth panels.

The potential of the multipanel carton may still be tapped, though. "If FDA changes its guidelines, adding alcohol warnings or something like that, you could see the whole industry jump over to extended content cartons with fifth and sixth panels," Freeze says, because they are already at the limit of space on existing packages. Furthermore, these cartons offer the opportunity to include far more than just Drug Facts. Adding coupons and cross promotion, and attaching inserts inside the extra panels are just a few possibilities.

Alcan Packaging (Baie d'Urfé, QC, Canada), for instance, has seen acceptance of a multipanel carton that incorporates a fifth and sixth panel that is glued and folds out, allowing more room for graphics, copy, promotions, rely cards, etc.

The Boxsert from NOSCO Printing Group (Waukegan, IL) incorporates a booklet inside a fifth and/or sixth panel. The booklet can be the package insert. NOSCO continues to expand the range of extended-content carton designs it offers, says Tom Henderson, vice president, "to not only multiply the amount of information delivered, but also magnify its impact."


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