Approximately $260 billion in bio-pharma products are temperature-sensitive, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. As these products are shipped through the “cold-chain” process daily to arrive at hospitals, pharmacies and other medical/dental destinations, there’s a nagging question: Has it ever been exposed to hot or cold temperatures that result in a loss of efficacy?
The partnership of American Thermal Instruments (ATI) and Chromatic Technologies Inc. (CTI) introduces BlindSpotz™ freeze-warning technology that can be printed economically on individual packages, vials and syringes to help protect medical supplies and other critical applications, while saving money by lowering product waste.
According to the companies, the current cold chain technology to record temperatures between 4°C (39° F) and -4°C (25° F) costs around $3 per device. CTI’s BlindSpotz freeze spot technology costs pennies per package. The CTI capability embeds the technology into an ink system that can be incorporated intothe existing printing processfor packaging. Now billions of packages of vaccines as well as lettuce, seafood, strawberries, flowers and paint can be individually inspected for quality and safety.
Blind Spotz technology answers a challenged by the pharmaceutical industry to create a simple, low-cost freeze indicator for the individual vial that is intuitive to a medical worker and offers the option to make it easy to record data of temperature damage, drug type and location.
Freeze-sensitive prescriptions can now be sent by mail and it’s easy for patients to confirm the product hasn’t been exposed to freezing temperatures.
The companies note that a single dose of HepB in the U.S. for a patient costs $700. If a hospital has 100 doses in a refrigerator with a freezing incident, it is required to discard $70,000 in inventory. With the BlindSpotz on-vial freeze indicator, the doses can be quickly sorted into “O.K.” and “FROZEN. DO NOT USE.” If inspection finds that only 10% have been damaged, that’s a savings of $63,000.
In addition to medical samples, vaccines and pharma products, freezing temperatures can impact fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and meat, flowers, agricultural products, ink, chemicals, solvents, paint, food home delivery and certain types of mail or freight.
The technology provides packaging companies access to a new pipeline of innovation to help their clients improve quality, safety and create a better consumer experience.It just requires one print station and the technology can be implemented.
Extensive government regulations from the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture require cold chain monitoring on any food and drug product affected by temperature.The ability to now record data and inspect at the package level is an economical improvement in monitoring and reporting.
CTI will handle all on-package printing while ATI will manage the implementation of cold chain monitoring devices and data.
BlindSpotz is designed to complement CTI’s existing cold chain technology such as “Thaw Alert,” High-Pressure Processing (HPP) verification, “Heat Exposure,” “Heat Tampering” and “Freeze Tampering” indicators. ATI will collaborate with incumbent cold chain monitoring suppliers on implementation.
BlindSpotz is available in UV- and Water-based Flexo, Water-based Gravure, Wet Offset, UV-Wet Offset ink formulas, as well as finished devices. Additional technology for devices and on-pack printing is available to alert in event of thawing, warming outside of refrigeration specifications, high-heat damage and tampering.