To understand the problems with counterfeit drugs you need to know what counterfeit medicines are and who is affected. Counterfeit drugs are manufactured and packaged to look like legitimate brand-name medications but often contain little to none of the active ingredients listed on the label.
Counterfeit medicine is one of the world’s fastest-growing criminal enterprises. Analysts estimate the global counterfeit market to be worth between US$200 and US$432 billion a year. The number one counterfeited drug for the past 12 years has been Pfizer’s Viagra with just over 15% share of the overall counterfeit medicine economy, closely followed by fake prescription opioids. These fake opioids are in most cases pure fentanyl, a very potent hallucinogen.
Counterfeit medicines affect individuals who fall victim to low quality counterfeit products that are not as potent as the original. They are often described as “sugar pills” that don’t have the chemical compounds to have any effect on the individual. Fake drugs are often produced in uncontrolled environments and often contain hazardous toxins that were never intended for human use.
Counterfeit drugs also affect the legitimate producers, who are losing sales to counterfeiters.
How can Serialization help WIN the fight against counterfeit medicine?
Serialization is the process of assigning a unique identifier, such as a barcode or QR code, to each individual package of a pharmaceutical product. This unique identifier can be used to track and trace the product throughout the supply chain, from the manufacturer to the patient. By implementing serialization, it is possible to identify and verify the authenticity of a pharmaceutical product at various points in the supply chain.
Counterfeit medicine is a major problem worldwide, and serialization can help to combat this issue in several ways:
- Traceability: Serialization allows for the tracking and tracing of pharmaceutical products from the manufacturer to the patient, making it easier to identify and remove counterfeit products from the supply chain.
- Authentication: By scanning the unique identifier on a package, it is possible to verify that the product is authentic and not a counterfeit.
- Deterrence: The knowledge that products can be easily traced and authenticated may deter would-be counterfeiters from producing fake drugs in the first place.
- Compliance: Serialization is a requirement of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) in the United States and other countries, Serialization can help manufacturers comply with these regulations
- Forensics: Our Serialization Solutions Manufacturers HICOF had introduced an extra feature to their camera system HECTOR, where they are now able to perform forensic print validation. This means that the scanner no longer checks the content of the barcode, QR code or any of the GTIN identifiers, but the way that those are printed. This new method allows easy detection on even high end counterfeiting by being able to determine whether the actual print originates from the legitimate producer.
The HECTOR can be integrated on any machine to manage the process of serial numbering along with variable printing systems. Beside Serialization HECTOR can be used to manage the process of aggregation of serialized product. This way the HECTOR system creates individual identifier for the printers that printed the real label, assuring that no counterfeit medicine can be falsely authenticated.
Finally, HECTOR system is integrated into the process of visual quality inspection, so it does the pharmacode reading, filling control of Blister cavities, quality inspection of tablets, and quality inspection of molded products.
Overall, Serialization can be a powerful tool in the fight against counterfeit medicine by providing a means of tracking and authenticating pharmaceutical products throughout the supply chain, deterring counterfeiters and helping companies to comply with regulations.