CASE HISTORY Holograms Foil Counterfeiting in South America

A Paraguayan pharmaceutical manufacturer adopts a modular approach to product authentication.


Daphne Allen, Editor

Lasca Laboratories, a pharmaceutical manufacturer based in Asunción, Paraguay, is an ambitiously run family business. The company founded the first industrial pharmaceutical production plant in Paraguay in 1959, inspired by the vision of Vicente Scavone, an Italian who came to Paraguay in January 1910. Another generation of Scavones currently guides the company, led by director Augusto Scavone.

In March 2001, Lasca completed a reconversion of its industrial park, improving quality systems and introducing new products. Its offerings, which include a range of analgesics, antiseptics, and antibiotics, are currently distributed in Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, the Dominican Republic, and Peru. Scavone hopes to maintain Lasca's leading position by offering high-quality, low-cost pharmaceuticals.

The last thing Scavone needs in Lasca's way is a counterfeit package. To protect its brands from counterfeiting, a reality too common in South America, Lasca turned to packaging. Its goal was to give distributors and consumers a visual cue of authenticity. For its blister packages, Marina Gutiérrez, quality control manager, says the firm chose to use Protecco foil from Hueck Foils LLC (Wall, NJ). "Our distributors are happy with the holographic aluminum because it helps prevent counterfeiting, and we are very happy at not having detected counterfeits since we adopted it about two years ago," explains Gutiérrez.

Protecco is a material system that can incorporate numerous elements, either covert or overt. The elements that can be varied and customized include graphical design, Guilloche patterns and raster functions, ultraviolet light fluorescent features, rainbow gratings, microimage typeface, and optically variable device holograms. The elements can be made explicit so that consumers know immediately whether they have purchased an authentic pharmaceutical, or they can be hidden for investigators to search for should there be a suspicious product. Hueck Foils' Angela Roggenhofer, healthcare marketing manager for the Americas, calls the system modular because customers can mix and match the features according to their needs.

When comparing the Protecco foil with conventional foil in terms of appearance, cost, and labor requirements, Gutiérrez says that costs and labor demands are approximately the same, because it can be formed and sealed on the same equipment used for conventional foil lidstock. Appearance, however, is better, she says, because not only do customers know that anticounterfeiting features are included, but product packaged with Protecco has more "identity."

Roggenhofer is pleased to hear such success stories. "We made it our goal and responsibility to help pharmaceutical customers cope with this problem in Asia and South America, and we see [awareness of such solutions] just coming over to the United States."

This April, Hueck Foils will be showing Protecco at Interphex in New York City at booth #1166. In addition, Hueck Foils will cosponsor a blister packaging session at Interphex with Perlen Converting (Kennett Square, PA) on Tuesday, April 16, at 9:00 a.m. Topics will include Protecco's role in deterring counterfeiting, trends in blister packaging, and material interchangeability.

Photo courtesy of Hueck Foils

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