Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Drug By Name

In the article, “A Drug By Any Other Name: Patients' Ability To Identify Medication Regimens And Its Association With Adherence And Health Outcomes,"

the authors evaluated the health outcomes of a group of patients based on their knowledge of the prescribe drug compared to those who identified medication strictly visually.  This article is very good; do read it.  But you can probably guess the results.

It’s pretty clear that understanding your medications and dosages produces better adherence and outcomes compared to only identifying the physical characteristics of the pill itself.  What’s interesting about the study is the authors correlated knowledge with the improved outcomes.

In fact, the authors wrote, “A patient's ability to accurately identify their daily medications is crucial for optimal health.” 

In addition, the authors wrote, “It is possible that patients who use two forms of medication identification (name and visual identification) may have better outcomes.”

Reading this article, I wondered, “what could we do to help patients increase their knowledge of their prescribed medication and dosage?”

From my perspective, the easy-to-do and obvious answer comes from the Institute of Safe Medication Practice and their recommendations for Principals of Designing Prescription Labels  

From this list, I get 4 easy-to-do ideas that every pharmacist should consider to increase their patient’s understanding and identification of the medication they take:

  •      Use Larger Fonts.  Larger fonts are easier to read and increases comprehension.
  •      Include typographical cues like Bolding and Highlighting.
  •       Maximize whitespace, including line spacing. Older people perceive Whitespace is easier to read
  •      Place a picture of the medication on the label. 

By adding these 4 simple ideas, pharmacists would quickly improve knowledge and identification of the medications taken by their patients.

With traditional vials, however, pharmacists may not have sufficient label “real estate” to make these additions.  By moving to the M-Pack vials, pharmacists get more than 1.8X more label area to make these simple changes.

According to William Negrini, President at M-Pack Systems, “The M-Pack System is the most compliant prescription package in the industry.”  To learn more, you may want to review my earlier post on how Prescript Pharmaceuticals is using the M-Pack vial:

And with traditional direct thermal or thermal transfer printers, pharmacists may not have the capability to add identifiable images and highlights to the labels.  With the TM-C3500 color label printer, it’s easy to add larger fonts, bond fonts, highlights, and images. 


You may want to review how I printed using these ideas on the labels for M-Packs at the recent NACDS show:

If you want to improve adherence and patient outcomes easily, move to print on-demand color labels.  You and your patients will like the results.

Guy Mikel

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Color Label Costs

After updating a post on the relative cost of ink, toner and cartridges (, I decided to look at the relative cost of label media among the 3 main types of on-demand color label printers that Color Label Solutions sells;  laser, inkjet, thermal transfer. 


Before I start, you may be wondering, what are the differences among the different types of label media?  You may want to review my earlier post, “All Labels Are The Same-NOT”   In this post, I describe the different components of labels and the differences between label types.

To compare label prices, I asked David Gustafson, Business Development Manager of UPM Raflatac (( give me the relative prices of the different label media types.  UPM Raflatac is a globally leading supplier of pressure sensitive labelstock. UPM Raflatac's labelstock products are designed to meet the needs of demanding applications in a vast array of end-uses.  Supplying all-types of label stocks globally, UPM is in a perfect position to provide the relative costs of the different media.

Based on the information I received from David, I put together the following chart:

From this information, it is easy to see that thermal transfer, both paper and film, is the least costly type of label media.  According to David, “thermal transfer labels are produced in tremendous volumes.  With such large production and demand, thermal transfer labels cost much less to produce.”  For example, Zebra sells a basic white paper shipping label, 4” x 6” die cut thermal transfer for $66.80 per case of 4 rolls of 1,000; $0.0167 each.

David continues, “coating films such as polyester or polypropylene require more expertise and costs.  Therefore, these labels are more expensive, even for thermal transfer printers.”  For example, Zebra sells a Kimdura polypropylene 4” x 6” die cut label for $991.08 for a case of 36 rolls of 80 labels; $0.344 each.  In addition, Zebra sells a polyester 4” x 6” die cut label for $553.63 for a case of 4 rolls of 960 labels; or $0.144.  Color Label Solutions sells a 4” x 6” poly die-cut label for the CAB XC Series Two-Tone printers for $396.00 for 4 rolls or 1,050 labels; or $0.094.

Labels for laser/LED printers have costs similar to thermal transfer printers.  “At UPM Raflatec, we have lots of different types of paper and film label products that work well with laser and LED printers”, says David.  From my work, it is important to find labels for laser and LED printers that not only print well, but also work well with sheet fed media handling.

Labels for inkjet printers, both paper and film, cost more.  David says, “at this time, the volume of production is much lower for inkjet printers; thus increasing the cost of production.  As the market demand grows, the cost of inkjet labels should reduce.”  As a comparison, Color Label Solutions sells a 4” continuous roll of inkjet matte paper labels for $98.00 for a case of 12 rolls of 1,200”; or $0.04 per 4" x 6" label.  Using inkjet gloss paper, the cost per 4” x 6” label is $0.061.  And for inkjet poly, the cost per 4” x 6” label is $0.076.  Please know: die cut labels would be more expensive than continuous.  You can see the prices for labels in our store at  Contact me if you want specific die cut label sizes.

Based on this analysis, I recommend you look at the total cost of your labeling solution; including hardware, ink and media costs. Total costs are especially important when using film-based labels such as GHS label printing.  At Color Label Solutions, we’ll help you find the best solution to fit your requirements.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

GHS Drum Labels

Color Label Solutions now has a new option for you to print #DrumLabels.

In the past, I have written several posts covering the basics of printing of #GHSLabels. 

Including success stories:

All of these posts have involved the use of inkjet printers.  For drum labels, I have been recommending the GP-C831.  To purchase the GP-C831, visit our store:

But not everyone wants to use this technology.  For customers who want to use less expensive printers and label media, require higher resolution images, must print using PCL or PostScript drivers, or need full 8.5” wide labels, Color Label Solutions now offers the Okidata C711 printer specifically for chemical drum labels;

With low cost printer hardware and labels, resolution up to 1,200 x 600 dpi, and available PCL and PostScript drivers, the C711 fits many chemical companies who need to begin printing drums labels for their chemicals.

We selected the C711 for one key reason; straight paper path.   Laser printers require the media to travel around a drum to print.

This curved paper path along with the heat may cause issues with the facestock and liner of the label separating, jamming the printer.  Once jammed, it’s not easy to clear the media path, thus potentially stopping production.

With a straight path, the C711 has no issues printing labels that are heavier than standard paper.

In addition to the straight paper path, the C711 has one other feature making it a great option to print GHS drum labels; price.  At $999, no other viable printer for large quantities of GHS labels is less expensive.  If you are looking for a low cost option, the C711 is for you.  To purchase the C711, visit our store: 

Check out this video of the C711 printing a sample GHS label along it’s straight paper path: 

When you need GHS Drum labels, contact Color Label Solutions.  We’ll find the right solutions for your situation.

Guy Mikel