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Repackaging 'releevs' theft woes

Merix Releev cold sore medication changes to pilfer-resistant film-laminated packaging to meet retailer demands.

Pw 8617 Releev

Merix Pharmaceutical Corp. switched its retail packaging for Releev 1 Day Cold Sore Symptom Treatment to BlisterGuard® security package from Colbert Packaging ( to thwart tampering and pilferage. Introduced last September, Merix’s new format is now used nationwide at Walgreens and Kmart stores, with expanded retail distribution planned for 2007.
Barrington, IL-based Merix was asked by the two retail chains to provide better pilfer-resistant packaging because of theft issues regarding the $19.95 medication that relieves the symptoms of cold sores in a day.
“Releev comes in a tube that can easily fit into someone’s pocket or purse if the outer package is breached,” says Dori Squires, vice president of Merix. “Therefore we moved forward with the plan to improve tamper-resistance to our product packaging.”
The prior packaging had been a five-panel carton. Initially, Merix looked at a plastic clamshell as the alternative. “However, we didn’t like the look of the package or the environmental and recyclability issues plastic clamshell packaging creates,” says Squires. “We also lost much of our package facing due to the flange required for the clamshell. It didn’t provide the printing surface for compelling graphics and brand identity.”

Package specifics
Colbert offset-prints Everest® Safe-Pak fold-over 16-pt SBS blister board from International Paper ( in five colors. Everest Safe-Pak is a heat-sealable, tear-resistant bleached paperboard laminated with a high-strength Valéron® Strength Film from Valeron Strength Films (, an ITW Co. The 3-mil cross-laminated high-density polyethylene film makes BlisterGuard virtually tear-proof. Colbert prints BlisterGuard in five colors plus aqueous coating via offset.
A polyvinyl chloride thermoform and an Electronic Article Surveillance device is trapped between the folded, laminated material before it is heat-sealed. The pack also has a tear-resistant hanger hole.
Says Squires, “when Colbert came to us with the BlisterGuard option, we liked the durability of the package; the larger print area, which enables more compelling graphics for greater shelf appeal; the fact that it is paper-based and more environmentally friendly than the plastic clamshell; and that it has a fresh, different look. The brokers and buyers really liked the look of the new package and were thrilled with the tamper-resistant quality. “Colbert not only prints and converts the package, its Just Pack It™ packaging facility in Indiana handles the pack out.
“To top it off, we also were pleasantly surprised that BlisterGuard was less costly than the plastic clamshell,” says Squires. “While official reporting on lost-product results from the retail stores is still about a month away, initial feedback from our retail customers has been highly positive. It appears the new Releev packaging is already relieving pilferage.” She adds that the PVC blister will be changed to recycled PET (RPET) this summer.

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