Story | 04/12/2018 12:05:00

Traceability makes medical supplies safer

Adhesive labels, in their many forms and uses, play a big role in the everyday life of hospitals and health centres everywhere.

They are the means to convey life-saving information and make sure that everything that moves through the healthcare system is traceable. A huge amount of labels is used in test tubes in medical laboratories only. The high criteria of patient safety sets great demands on the labels – they have to function reliably and have versatile qualities.

New EU regulation, adopted in March 2017, states that every medical device has to be individually traceable. The variety of medical equipment in healthcare ranges from hip prostheses to injection pens. When all equipment is traceable the information about possible manufacturing failures and deficiencies come quickly back to the manufacturer and others who use the same product EU-wide.

”UPM Raflatac launched a new range of label products in the autumn of 2017 designed for labelling medical equipment and packaging. The new labels meet all traceability requirements. Labels can be applied directly onto the medical equipment and the protective sterilised package. They can also applied to blood bags used for blood donation,” explains Markku Pietarinen Manager, UPM Raflatac Business Segments & Pharma.

Medical equipment manufacturers now get feedback on product defects in a timely manner and can react to the feedback, develop the product further and release better products on the market.

Tool against falsified medicines

Labels also play a part in the fight against falsified medicine. Falsified medicine are not only ineffective but can be dangerous in the bargain. Under the new EU directive on falsified medicinal products, all prescription medicine packages must have an anti-tampering mechanism to identify whether the package has been opened illegally in the distribution chain. The medicine package cannot be opened without breaking the security seal label, which makes it more difficult to deliver falsified medicines to consumers through legal channels.

“We were the first to launch products that help pharmaceutical companies meet the requirements of the new directive,” says Pietarinen.

The healthcare business in totality, with its high standards, challenges the adhesive label business to constantly develop. ”The labels used in this particular field have to withstand storage, chemical treatment and other, very demanding applications in healthcare. The business is a clear growth area for our labelling solutions. Product development at Raflatac is based on end user and customer needs – met as quickly as possible,” says Markku Pietarinen.


Nikhil Naraynan Sivadas

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EU regulation on medical equipment traceability

EU directive on preventing falsified medicinal products (PDF)