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Package design helping GSK, FDA to identify bogus Alli pills

Differences in markings on primary and secondary packages, as well as the bottle and cap structure, make it simpler for consumers to identify the potentially harmful pills.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is a front-runner among pharmaceutical product marketers in understanding the value of package design. That knowledge is paying off on the store shelf through brand identity with shoppers, and now it’s apparent that package design also will help the company’s brand-protection effort.

Word comes from the Food and Drug Administration, and detailed on, that counterfeiters are putting a knock-off version of GSK’s Alli weight-loss pills on the market via the Internet. Besides the counterfeiting issue, the fake Alli pills include a controlled substance that could be harmful to people taking other medications.

Counterfeit drugs are commonplace around the world, but in Alli’s case, both the primary and secondary packages are helping consumers to identify the fake pills from the real deal. Besides different markings on various components of the packaging, two other important differences enable consumers to easily differentiate between the authentic and bogus products. The real pills are packed in taller bottles with wider caps. In addition, the ribbing is coarser on GSK’s bottle.

These differences in the components make the packaging more difficult and costlier for counterfeiters to copy. They serve as one example of how package design can serve a brand well in multiple dimensions.

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