What the healthcare market can expect from the labelling and artwork landscape in 2024

Published: 15-Feb-2024

Providing insight into how manufacturers can stay ahead of the curve, Bob Tilling, Vice President of Global Sales at Kallik, looks at the future of labelling and artwork management software

With many proposed changes to various regulations and the advancing role of automated technology, last year was a turbulent one for the healthcare market.

The NHS is expected to reach a core level of digitisation in 2024 and I’m confident that the labelling and artwork landscape will embrace this transformation and adopt a digital-first approach.1

Regulation changes 

Staying ahead of new regulations is non-negotiable in this industry. You risk patient safety … as well as financial and reputational consequences if products are labelled incorrectly. This means that you could be subject to recalls, fines, lawsuits and even suspension. Non-compliance is a cost that no business wants to incur.

Last year, there were several labelling regulation changes, including a requirement from the UK government for medicines to display a “UK only” label from 1 January 2025.2 More than half of British people also supported improving marketing regulations, including health warnings on materials for alcohol products.3

There will likely be further regulation changes to the medical market as the UK continues to develop its own set of standards after leaving the EU. A general election will also take place later this year, which could lead to further regulatory and policy changes impacting the industry.

Additionally, the drive to achieve net zero ramps up; and, with plans for ecolabelling to hit the food industry, the healthcare sector could well be next in line for new and more environmentally friendly labelling.4

Transformative tech

Automated technologies were forecasted to make strong headway in 2023, with industry leaders taking steps to improve their supply chain management and develop high-quality medical devices with minimal human intervention.

In 2024, I see technological advancements beginning to transform the medical labelling and artwork landscape with AI, machine learning and automation playing a key role.

Automation helps to ensure the accuracy of labels, reduce human error, accelerate time-to-market and improve compliance. It’s estimated that 50% of pharmaceutical recalls are because of errors in packaging — namely the labelling and artwork — and 60% of the recalls were caused by human error.5

Additionally, a “master phrase” is a tool that is related to translations whereby a non-native speaker can generate a label in a language unknown to them and be confident that it’s right.

In 2024, I predict that this will become the standard, with all preapproved content stored in there. The labels will then be filtered through to ensure that they are compliant and accurate, and then they will go on to receive their more unique assets if needed.

Bob Tilling, Vice President of Global Sales at Kallik

Bob Tilling, Vice President of Global Sales at Kallik

Some labelling and artwork management software offers automated artwork generation to reduce the need for human intervention, which can significantly decrease the risk of errors and project completion times.

Additionally, software such as Kallik’s Veraciti’s Cascade not only manages traditional labels and artwork, but also offers more control of the design and creation of multipage artwork or documents — whereby it streams the approved content into Adobe design software to ensure that it’s accurate.

There is also the ongoing risk of counterfeit medicines entering the market and manufacturers may need to swiftly change their labelling to counteract this. Automation will enable them to do this quickly while maintaining their uniformity, marketing and manufacturing standards.

At Kallik, we launched a project with Aston University to incorporate advanced computer vision, AI and machine learning into our label and artwork systems.6

The now-completed technology, AToM (Assisted Technology of Migration), is the first of its kind globally and will enable customers to save both time and money, remain compliant, derisk the supply chain and, crucially, improve their carbon footprint, which is a factor at the forefront of most label and artwork specialists’ minds this year.

The cloud

A 2021 survey from Gartner has revealed that 85% of businesses say that the cloud will be the preferred method for labelling by 2025 — a trend I expect to see in the pharmaceuticals industry too.7

The cloud vastly increases data storage for labelling master files and can be accessed from anywhere in the world, assuming the user has the correct permissions and user profile. This enables remote working and collaboration between designers, marketeers and manufacturers.

Internal teams can work in real-time to make edits, drafts and do inspections so that labels are designed with the patient’s safety in mind.

Better still is the idea of a composable solution; that is, one that allows teams to break down the assets of a label or element of artwork, enabling them to make detailed changes at each stage of the label and artwork management cycle.

This model gives teams more agility, helping them to accelerate the creation of assets by giving them the ability to reassemble or reimagine those assets depending on the user requirements or product destination.

Cloud service providers take security seriously and offer encryption, multifactor authentication and access control to protect sensitive documents.

They are regularly audited to ensure they comply with security regulations, which is essential for companies in highly regulated industries such as those looking for medical device labelling software.

I believe composable solutions will play a fundamental role in labelling and artwork management software moving forward … and cloud-based solutions will enable companies to embrace this approach.

It’s important for businesses to stay ahead of the curve, whenever possible, and keep an open mind when it comes to digital transformation.

I’m confident that this year will be transformative and bring about pivotal changes to the labelling and artwork landscape, especially with the rise of AI and the increased use of automation. I look forward to seeing what the rest of 2024 brings.


  1. www.rsmuk.com/insights/real-economy/digital-transformation/digital-transformation-in-the-future-of-uk-healthcare.
  2. www.gov.uk/government/publications/labelling-and-packaging-of-medicinal-products-for-human-use-following-agreement-of-the-windsor-framework/labelling-and-packaging-of-medicinal-products-for-human-use-following-agreement-of-the-windsor-framework.
  3. https://movendi.ngo/news/2023/09/20/majority-of-british-people-supports-alcohol-health-warning-labeling/.
  4. www.foodservicefootprint.com/plans-for-universal-eco-label-revealed/.
  5. www.swiftpak.co.uk/insights/3-most-common-pharmaceutical-packaging-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them.
  6. www.aston.ac.uk/business/collaborate-with-us/knowledge-transfer-partnership/at-work/kallik.
  7. www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2021-11-10-gartner-says-cloud-will-be-the-centerpiece-of-new-digital-experiences.

You may also like