Braille and Packaging

Since January 1, 2006 a new EU directive (2004/27/CE No) requires all packages of pharmaceutical products to bear the Braille characters, in order to give the blind and partially sighted consumer the ability to read and understand the necessary consumer information.

The number of people that can be categorized as blind or partially sighted increases each year, mainly as a result of the higher life expectancy and aging of the population. Most of the visual disabilities manifest themselves at an older age, namely 88% after the age of 60 compared to 10% between 16 and 59 years and 2% below the age of 16 years. But unfortunately – less than 2% of the partially sighted and the blind can read Braille.

This year it is 200 years since the Frenchman Louis Braille (1809-1852) was born. When Louis was 3 years old, he became blind. He spent most of his life teaching the blind and stimulating the interest of people for his revolutionary braille. The braille alphabet is a so-called relief alphabet: the letters and other characters are made by punching dots in the paper, so that a small elevation occurs which can be ‘read’ by the fingertips. probably Braille took the idea of a relief alphabet from a French artillery officer, Charles Barbier, who developed “Ecriture Nocturne” (night writing) in response to Napoleon’s demand for a code that soldiers could use to communicate silently and without light at night.

The year 2009 has been declared the Braille year
The EU directive requirements for the installation of Braille characters on labels and packaging is one of the challenges, which the pharmaceutical industry faces. Past experience has shown that it is often difficult or sometimes impossible to free sufficient room for the Braille characters on the label or packaging.
In order to help drug manufacturers to comply with the European legislation, several companies have developed their own unique solution.
Here successively Sleever Braille, CCL’s BrailleMarker, the AccuBraille system of Bobst and Nordson’s
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