In conversation with Stefan Wiedemann from Schreiner MediPharm
PragmatIC Semiconductor is fortunate to be working with exciting business partners who are experts in their own fields. This is helping to propel forward adoption of our pioneering flexible electronics technology in important sectors, such as healthcare. For this PragmatIC blog post, we chatted with Stefan Wiedemann from Schreiner MediPharm, a leading supplier of innovative labels and smart solutions for the pharmaceutical industry.
Stefan Wiedemann is the Senior Director Strategic Marketing & Business Development at Schreiner MediPharm.
For over 15 years he has spearheaded innovation and product management at the company.
1) What makes Schreiner MediPharm’s labelling solutions so special?
Stefan: Schreiner MediPharm has been a supplier of innovative and high-quality labels in the pharmaceutical industry for more than 30 years. We are specialised in customised label solutions that offer additional functionalities to enhance product and patient safety. Over the last few years, we have had a particularly strong focus on our label-integrated RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) portfolio. We see this technology as an ideal interface between pharmaceutical products, service providers and patients, to enable a more digitised approach within the healthcare arena and to introduce a more efficient, convenient and safer system. Schreiner MediPharm has always strived to look ahead in order to proactively identify the challenges of our customers where we can contribute.
2) Why is Schreiner MediPharm working with PragmatIC Semiconductor?
Stefan: A major share of pharmaceutical products are injectables and therefore packaged in vials, pre-filled syringes or pens and auto-injectors. A key challenge if you want to equip these containers with label-integrated RFID functionality is the curved surface, and in many cases a very small container diameter. Here, PragmatIC’s unique flexible integrated circuits (FlexICs) provide several advantages, compared to conventional brittle silicon-based RFID solutions, since FlexICs are extremely thin and robust. This form factor benefit increases overall processability during the label application and throughout the entire supply chain. Moreover, there is the ultra-low-cost approach of PragmatIC´s technology. This will provide access to RFID for a wide range of pharmaceuticals under considerable cost pressure, where additional smart functionality might be required or to create added value.
3) What about the benefits of NFC for pharma and healthcare?
Stefan: Leveraging NFC (Near Field Communication) technology and PragmatIC’s novel flexible electronics could lead to a major step forward for patient support. Having the ability to individually, digitally, track pharmaceuticals throughout the supply chain and even check authenticity at the point of use would be a significant bonus; helping to ensure patient compliance via tapping and confirming medication intake; conveniently accessing additional information about healthcare treatments. This technology opens up a wide range of functionalities. Moreover, due to the very low-cost point of the PragmatIC NFC chip, a completely new range of relatively inexpensive pharmaceutical products will be able to take advantage of these possibilities.
4) What are the opportunities for this partnership?
Stefan: The partnership between Schreiner MediPharm, PragmatIC Semiconductor and the leading RFID inlay (tag) manufacturer Avery Dennison Smartrac opens up the opportunity to offer high-quality and cost-efficient solutions at mass market volumes. The extensive experience and synergy between the three partners are important prerequisites for creating robust and customised smart labelling solutions. This is especially important in the pharmaceutical industry, where there are a wide range of packaging formats with different applications and the highest quality requirements.
5) Do you think greater use of RFID could help when dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic?
Stefan: The logistical challenges associated with testing and vaccination against COVID-19 are enormous. The number of people who need to be tested and vaccinated is huge. Data collection, documentation and reliable processes will also pose big challenges for all parties involved. Digitisation and automation have clear advantages here compared to pen, paper and manual processes. Transmission errors can be avoided and safety for the population can be significantly improved. This low-cost RFID and novel flexible electronics technology have the potential to help increase efficiencies and reduce costs in healthcare in multiple areas and applications.