Packaging Advice

3 most common pharmaceutical packaging mistakes and how to avoid them

Even though pharmaceutical manufacturers pay a great deal of attention to making sure they are compliant with the important manufacturing practices and regulations when making drugs, pharmaceutical packaging can end up being an afterthought.


It has been estimated that 50% of pharmaceutical recalls are due to errors in the packaging, particularly the product labelling or artwork not being accurate, and more than 60% of recalls are caused by human error. Mislabelling or not packaging the pharmaceutical product correctly can carry a number of dangers for both the manufacturer and the end user. These dangers can include:

  • Risk to patient’s safety: errors in the pharmaceutical labelling can cause misuse of a drug leading to serious side effects.
  • FDA Compliance Issues: The FDA has clear guidelines on pharmaceutical packaging. If the manufacturer fails with any of these regulations, the FDA may issue a recall on the product.
  • Costly recalls and fines: Having a product recalled due to a pharmaceutical packaging error such as incorrect labelling can be costly.
  • Company reputation damage: Product recalls are made very public and so this could have a negative effect on the company’s reputation.

As you can see, these are issues that you would not want your business to run into. Therefore, it is vitally important that these critical pharmaceutical packaging mistakes that often plague the pharmaceutical industry are avoided. In this article, we will be exploring the 3 most common pharmaceutical packaging mistakes and how you can avoid them.

1. Using packaging material that is not fit for the pharmaceutical product

Pharmaceutical and medical products can be highly sensitive and need to be operated in a tightly regulated environment. One of the most crucial pharmaceutical packaging challenges is making sure that the packaging preserves the curative effects of the medicine inside. Failure to protect the product will render them to be unusable and this can be costly for the business.

As a general rule, most medicine boxes are rectangular as this makes them easier to handle and easily stackable so more can be shipped at the same time. When it comes to shipping, the packaging needs to be of good quality, robust and resistant so that it has the ability to ensure the fragile products are transported safely.

If shipping medications, they need to be stored away from any moisture and heat and need to be kept in well-defined temperatures. Insulated shipping boxes can control the temperature of the goods for several days, additionally, placing gel packs inside the package is another good way of ensuring your pharmaceutical and biopharma products are transported in a temperature-controlled manner to keep chemicals stable and within the required temperature.

If you are looking to avoid pharmaceutical packaging mistakes when it comes to sturdy and reliable packaging, contact our pharmaceutical packaging experts today and they will be happy to help you find the perfect pharmaceutical packaging solution for your product.

pharmaceutical packaging

2. Pharmaceutical packaging labelling errors

As mentioned, one of the most common mistakes made in pharmaceutical packaging involves labelling. Labelling errors can include: misspelled texts, wrong product names, incorrect translations, or incorrect fonts. The omission of country-specific information such as required warnings is also another common labelling error that occurs.

To guarantee that your pharmaceutical packaging labels are error free, suppliers must be trusted to be able to print artwork as developed. To do this, make sure all key stakeholders are involved in the planning process, and to avoid any errors, make sure to leave enough time for proofreading and samples.

Some FDA regulations for packaging labelling include:

  • The most important information should appear on the most visible display panel of the package.
  • Labels should be readable to the customer and easy to understand.
  • Container labels should be unique and avoid too many similarities with other product packages.
  • Blister packs should include information about the drug including name, trade name, strength, expiration date, bar code, manufacturer etc.

3. Printing inconsistencies on pharmaceutical packaging

Having problems with the printing process can lead to a build up of issues. Although these issues may seem minor at first, a slightly off shade of colour, use of a different font, distorted artwork, or even a simple blemish can be enough to damage brand equity. This is why this mistake can be a common one, as printing inconsistencies on packaging can easily be overlooked.

If quality issues such as these are present on the packaging, it can reflect badly on the quality of the product itself and so this can lead to costly recalls if the inconsistencies are significant enough… and as we have said, costly errors are definitely something your company will be wanting to avoid.

With our trusted in-house packaging designer, at Swiftpak we can ensure that these printing errors are avoided. Contact us today and we will be happy to help you create a new packaging design that suits your packaging needs.

Pharmaceutical packaging from Swiftpak

So, there you have it – the most common pharmaceutical packaging mistakes. At Swiftpak, with over 40 years’ experience, we understand that your medical products are highly sensitive and need reliable protective packaging that avoids these common errors. Contact us today and we will help you find the perfect pharmaceutical packaging solution.