Pharmacy Pill Bottle Labeling

Posted April 26, 2012

Industry Need

Advancements in pharmaceutical science enable improved health, better management of medical conditions, and even extended life spans for many. However, realization of these benefits relies on accurate identification of medicines and dosing instructions; mistakes can have severe health repercussions. Specialized pill bottle labels fulfill this critical identification and information role.

Pharmaceutical labeling has a unique set of product requirements. Durability is key. Frequent handling, contact abrasion (such as jostling with purse contents), or storage in warm, moist environments must not degrade the printed image or adhesion. Many common label materials are quickly degraded by contact with hand lotions or other environmental exposures.

Pharmaceuticals are typically fulfilled through two channels, each of which contributes additional unique requirements.

Mail order pharmacy fulfillment for maintenance medications is rapidly becoming the standard for major prescription benefit plans thanks to the cost savings that its high volume, highly automated processes deliver. In these systems, labels must reliably dispense from the liner for automatic application to the pill bottle; adhesives must develop an instant bond with the bottles to ensure they do not lift, flag, or skew. Labels must be compatible with high speed printing to handle volume throughput. Consistently superb bar code print quality and label alignment are critical, as these systems require a positive scan to verify item accuracy during order packing.

Traditional in-premise pharmacies fulfill a steady volume of prescriptions by providing high-touch service that customers value. They also remain the primary avenue for fulfillment of urgent or limited-time pharmaceuticals due to while-you wait service availability. With a relatively high abandon rate for filled prescriptions, removable label stock is commonly preferred. When pharmaceuticals are returned to stock, this adhesive option enables labels to be easily removed and shredded, simplifying compliance with HIPAA patient information security requirements.

Intermec Solution

Intermec’s Duratherm III label stock has a long record of success in prescription labeling applications for multiple high volume customers. A protective topcoat enhances durability when the label is exposed to moisture, lotions, or other incidental exposures. The direct thermal printing method makes compliance with HIPAA requirements simple since no ribbon is required. (Spent thermal transfer ribbons retain a negative print image, and must be disposed of in a manner to ensure destruction if they contain confidential customer information.) Excellent print quality, even at high speed, provides superior scan rates that eliminate delays, misrouted prescriptions, and additional handling costs.

Permanent adhesive meets the initial tack requirements of automatic applicators, ensuring a reliable bond throughout filling and processing; positive immediate bond ensures labels will not skew and cause failures in automatic scanning equipment.

Controlled removable adhesive is available to enable label removal and destruction in instance of unclaimed prescriptions; products can be returned to inventory and the empty bottle, stripped of patient information, can be discarded without HIPAA violation.

Preprint inks for color-coding label stocks are fully compatible with direct thermal printing; they can be used to differentiate sensitive or high security pharmaceuticals through processing for special attention. Ink compatibility has been extensively lab-qualified to ensure print head abrasion, performance-reducing buildup, and rapid-onset print quality problems commonly encountered with other direct thermal preprint inks are not experienced with genuine Intermec media.

Duratherm III permanent label
Duratherm III controlled removable label

Printer Recommendation
PX4i High Performance Printer (high speed/high volume)
PC23/PC43 Desktop Printer (in-premise pharmacy)

  • IntuitiveSuper Easy to Install & Use
    • 10-language LCD or Icon graphics user interface maximizes uptime
    • One hand media loading for trouble-free use
    • Fastest throughput in its class at 8 ips
    • Quick configuration with USB stick device
  • FlexibleFits your business needs today & tomorrow
    • User installable connectivity upgrades and accessories for scalability
    • Leading command languages for seamless deployment
    • Modular IT-friendly design speeds up deployment and support
  • SmartKeeps you informed & productive
    • Remote status updates with Intermec tools minimize downtime
    • Programmable with ability to directly add keyboard or scale improves efficiency

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