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Security & Brand Protection article· 10 min

June 06, 2021

HP Indigo technology is ideal for pharma printing and security

In a year rocked by a global pandemic, health and pharmaceuticals grabbed the spotlight. As retail and businesses went almost entirely online, we saw an Everest-like hike in security consciousness.

Digital is ideal for pharma and security

In a year rocked by a global pandemic, health and pharmaceuticals grabbed the spotlight. As retail and businesses went almost entirely online, we saw an Everest-like hike in security consciousness. With more people ordering crucial products and medicines on the web, security in packaging and printing suddenly got serious—and seriously big business. 

To get the idea, worldwide e-commerce sales that reached 3.53 trillion US dollars in 2019, are projected to nearly double to 6.54 trillion US dollars in 2022. As you may know from experience, online shopping is currently one of the more popular leisure activities.¹

Being credible and being human

With people buying so much online, bootlegged pharmaceuticals and medical devices have boomed. A recent study found that counterfeit pharmaceuticals traded worldwide reached a value of EUR 4.03 billion.² Losing sleep about lost revenue is one thing, but we should really be worried about the lives being put at risk.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently estimated that one-third of all medicines sold worldwide are illegitimate. E-commerce has provided a gateway for dodgy products to falsely mimic³ reputable brands to gain credibility. This is where security in pharmaceutical packaging and printing comes in.

The global market for security printing and brand protection is forecast to grow to $36 billion by 2024.⁴

With online shopping at an all-time high, brands want to know packages haven’t been tampered with or opened—and don’t we all! Whether it's small or large security labels, using serial codes to trace products can help put a lid on things, get ahead of counterfeiters and improve security offerings. 

The pharmaceutical packaging market is expected to grow by 6.0% CAGR, reaching a projected $142B by 2027.⁵ A few things have been driving the growth, but the pandemic has surely brought things to a head. Even for PSPs who are well-established in packaging or labels—avoiding break-ins will mean breaking into digital.

Out-smart scammers

“Brands will never ask for something that would make them seen as not only vulnerable but also subject to attacks. The trick is to show them the marketing value of unique printing, and that the very same system is a brand protection solution,” says Christian Menegon, Business Development Manager Industrial products at HP Inc.

That’s why converters play such an important role to combat counterfeiting. As scammers become more crafty, security solutions are moving to a higher level of sophistication and complexity with multiple serialization tools. Using a blend of overt, semi-covert, covert and forensic print tools, PSPs can help brands prevent fraudulent products.

Christian Menegon says that while several years ago there were high barriers of entry to protective tech, with today’s digitalization, connected items and computing power, these technologies are not only affordable, but easy to implement.

Print it to protect it

Outdoing conventional security solutions, HP Indigo Secure allows converters to apply multiple layers of security to any document, label or package in one pass, with the power of variable data and personalization. HP Indigo can support security strategies and safer pharmaceutical packaging and labeling.

Just take it from Craig Curran, President of Nosco Inc.

“At Nosco we’ve been able to develop a whole security business surrounding the HP Indigo technology...We can print variable barcodes in an invisible manner so that our customer can scan them and trace them across the country and ensure they are legitimate.”

From microtext and 2D barcodes with encoded data for traceability, to unique graphic designs with endless variations that blend into packaging: HP Indigo digital printing empower converters to take  security to the next level. 

The value of HP Indigo in pharma and security printing lies in the ability to optimize the needs of customers by supplying both offset and digital options, the latest technology, and fast turnaround times.⁶

What next?

The global market for security printing and brand protection is currently forecast to grow from 29.5 billion in 2019, to 36 billion by 2024. Many brands rely on converters to provide serial codes and security features as a service. And while they may not ask directly, as Christian Menegon says, “brands listen”.

“When the dialogue is open, and the needs are unveiled, you immediately realise that each brand has different needs, and therefore require different solutions. The implementation of a security solution is not only doable [for brands] but desirable, and in the case of pharma, it’s almost mandatory.”

For more about security trends in the industry and how to equip clients with a solid security strategy to protect them from fraudulent attacks, click below.

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1. Sourced from Statista:
4. The Future of Security Printing to 2024, Smithers Pira.
5. Internal HP Interview with Eso Pac, experts in pharmaceutical packaging.
6. Internal HP Interview with Eso Pac, experts in pharmaceutical packaging, p3.