DAC Pharma in Uffelte has been producing veterinary medicines, primarily for birds, for over 25 years. Numbers in this niche market are low, meaning that the possibilities regarding brand protection and prevention of imitation are limited. Houweling Group came up with a suitable solution.
Seal provides protection against imitation
‘A pot of Adeno Extra Mix for pigeons or a nutritional supplement for birds of prey costs around 15 to 30 euros’, Monique Decossaux, Owner and Managing Director of DAC Pharma, explains. ‘These are powders which we supply all over the world, mainly to Asian countries and the Middle East. Countries where we encounter fraud with increasing frequency and where our packaging is re-used. We were looking for a solution to counter this.’
The company in Uffelte has eighteen employees and it produces high-quality medicines in line with pharmaceutical Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). ‘This increasingly involves strict entry checks for raw materials, a tracking and tracing system for our products and a laboratory which checks everything. We seal the packaging immediately after production so that the consumer can be absolutely certain that the packaging has not been opened at any point during the logistics chain.’ ‘We are the smallest GMP pharmaceutically certified production company in the Netherlands. Our whole existence is down to the fact that we can easily produce small batches. We work with simple, hand-operated machines. We are also very flexible and inventive, which allows us to adapt to the market quickly.’
The original white pharmaceutical container, already used for many years, consists of a white plastic pot with snap-on lid and a removable sealing strip. ‘The disadvantage is that this PP pot has relatively large tolerances due to the properties of the raw materials and the injection moulding process in combination with the push lid’, explains Frank Houweling, Account Manager at the Houweling Group. ‘Sometimes the lid clicks into place easily but sometimes you need more force. People with malevolent intentions can apply some force and remove the complete lid without breaking the seal so it is possible to fill up the container. This is not the case with the new PET pot with screw-on lid. This is made from a pre-formed injection moulding so that the neck of the pot is always the same size.’
The new plastic screw-on lid does not have a sealing strip. A screw cap with seal now provides the tamper-evident seal and also makes the packaging air tight. The improvement process was in three stages. First of all there was a pressure-sensitive seal which was made up of layers with adhesive beads in between. Applying pressure to the seal forces the adhesive beads through the mesh and attaches the seal to the edge of the pot. ‘The disadvantage of the pressure-sensitive seal is the fact that it does not always seal consistently and it can sometimes be stuck back on the pot after opening,’ Frank Houweling explains.
The packaging supplier from Bleiswijk then suggested using an induction seal. ‘An induction seal provides 100% air tightness and is always firmly fixed to the edge. The seal, which consists of an aluminium foil with a PET laminate and PE layer, is first attached to the screw cap and an induction sealer provides a good seal following tightening. This seal can no longer be put back in place after opening.’
The latest, most recent step in the development of the new pot consisted of a printed induction seal. ‘Caps with induction seals can be ordered online and illegal counterfeiting companies can refill the DAC pots and reseal them by using an induction sealer. Printed seals cannot however be ordered online in small print runs. For DAC Pharma, which produces various medicines, a purchase of a printed seal with company logo in large quantities is indeed cost-effective’, states Frank Houweling. ‘It also gives that immediate professional look. The higher end nutritional supplements also use printed seals for example.’
In addition to good sealing and brand protection, the new seal also provides an improved expression of quality. Our market segments attach great importance to quality. Bird lovers all over the world just want the very best for their birds. Good packaging and the certainty that they are purchasing an original product are essential in this process.
Monique Decossaux, Owner and Managing Director at DAC Pharma