Automation for preventing pharmaceutical recalls

Recalls of pharmaceutical products increased 52% in the first quarter of 2018, the most since 2013. Though the average recall size has been declining in recent years, due in part to serialization and store keeping unit (SKU) proliferation, pharmaceutical companies continue to look for automated equipment solutions that can help prevent recalls in...

Recalls of pharmaceutical products increased 52% in the first quarter of 2018, the most since 2013. Though the average recall size has been declining in recent years, due in part to serialization and store keeping unit (SKU) proliferation, pharmaceutical companies continue to look for automated equipment solutions that can help prevent recalls in areas from labeling to quality control. Innovations in automation technology can help companies identify vulnerabilities and limit instances of human error before they happen. An estimated 50% of pharmaceutical recalls are related to labeling or packaging artwork. Common mistakes include gross errors, which occur when necessary information is missing from artwork, context and meaning flaws, content mistakes, and technical errors such as dysfunctional barcodes. Innovations in automation now allow pharmaceutical companies to implement all-in-one quality control platforms that check text, spelling, artwork, graphics, braille, and barcodes at every stage of production. Sometimes contaminants in packaging, like microscopic pieces of glass, can make the end product dangerous, leading to recalls. To avoid such errors, pharmaceutical companies can integrate a machine vision system with optical character recognition (OCR) technology that ensures packages meet regulatory requirements without slowing down production. The OCR technology allows robots to "see" as humans would. Such machines help pharmaceutical manufacturers meet strict regulations and ensure product safety.