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November 1, 2004

Alcoa Flexible Packaging Helps Novartis Introduce Unique Physicians' Sample Packaging

RICHMOND, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 1, 2004--Alcoa Flexible Packaging, a leading pharmaceutical packaging supplier, today announced that it has introduced shrink sleeve label technology for Novartis' line of Starlix(R) nateglinide Type 2 diabetes medication. This Food and Beverage industry shrink sleeve application on a prescription product is the newest packaging system to provide innovative child resistant/senior friendly benefits for the pharmaceutical industry.

The physicians' sample packaging system will be recognized with an AmeriStar Package Award in the Drug/Pharmaceutical category on November 9 in Chicago during PACK EXPO International sponsored by the Institute of Packaging Professions. The AmeriStar Package Awards honor the best packages of the year, based on criteria including innovation, economics, protection, performance, marketing and environmental impact.

The Novartis' design utilizes a 45cc Kerr bottle/closure system, covered by Alcoa's reversible printed shrink sleeve that provides superior tamper-evidence, product identification integrity and superior brand/product recognition. The Starlix is gravure printed 3 line colors backed up with a specially designed system of white ink for maximum opacity. This white ink covers a pressure sensitive label that is applied to the bottle before the shrink label, to insure product identity if the shrink label is ever fully removed. The fact that most of the label remains on the bottle allows physicians to better differentiate between Novartis' products and between various strengths within particular product lines, as these variations are color-coded distinctly on the label.

The per unit cost of the labels was decreased by 85% from the previous $10.00 approximate per unit cost. The material savings adds up to be approximately $2.5 million, which justified Novartis' upgrading to high-speed equipment. Storage of the container is much more efficient, since there is no excess packaging. It simplifies both the sales professionals and the doctor's time in sample storage. Novartis Starlix shrink sleeves are manufactured at Alcoa's Downingtown Printing Plant in Downingtown, Pennsylvania using 50 micron PVC film. Novartis' Starlix samples are available globally for sampling.

Alcoa Flexible Packaging, based in Richmond, Virginia, manufactures a variety of packaging materials including extrusion and adhesive laminated pouch materials, overwrap and linerstock, blister lidding foil, thermoformed trays, cable wrap, plastic shrink sleeve body labels, shrink film and laminated foil. These packaging materials serve the world's leading consumer products manufacturers within the pharmaceutical, medical, food & beverage, and industrial markets.

Alcoa is the world's leading producer of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina, and is active in all major aspects of the industry. Alcoa serves the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation and industrial markets, bringing design, engineering, production and other capabilities of Alcoa's businesses as a single solution to customers. In addition to aluminum products and components, Alcoa also markets consumer brands including Reynolds Wrap(R) aluminum foil, Alcoa(R) wheels, and Baco(R) household wraps. Among its other businesses are vinyl siding, closures, precision castings, and electrical distribution systems for cars and trucks. The company has 120,000 employees in 41 countries.