The cat-and-mouse game for pharmaceutical brands to stay a step ahead of criminals counterfeiting their drugs is an evolving, ongoing process. Every pharma brand is a unique entity and each one needs to have a robust brand protection program, according to a former FBI special agent who now works in pharmaceutical brand protection services.
Thin Film Electronics, a provider in printed electronics and smart systems, announced that Xerox will launch two new products that feature Thinfilm Memory – Xerox Printed Memory and Xerox Printed Memory with Cryptographic Security. According to Thin Film, the Xerox Printed Memory solutions are geared toward supply-chain security applications and provide anti-counterfeiting capabilities for pharmaceutical products, governmental tax stamps, and refill authentication.
Schreiner MediPharm, a global provider of specialty pharmaceutical labeling solutions for more than 60 years, has added the option of colored films to its recently introduced label + cap combination anti-counterfeiting solution.
The company’s Flexi-Cap features a first-opening indication security solution that prevents the illegal reuse of medicine containers under the guise of being unopened, original products. Now, colored film caps are available to help physicians and nurses easily identify different medicines or varying product potencies.
Within the pharmaceutical industry, as well as most other markets, counterfeiting has become everyone’s problem, as stated earlier this year by Pfizer’s director of global security at Pharmapack North America.
At first glance, counterfeiting may seem to plague only high-value products. But for those who have been tracking counterfeiters and trying to anticipate their next move—such as Brian Donnelly, Pfizer’s Director of Global Security for the Americas region—counterfeiting is everyone’s problem.
“Everything is counterfeited,” says Donnelly. “We just took down a ChapStick counterfeiting operation—a $2 ChapStick! It is all about market share–counterfeiters take advantage of it.”
The North American Security Products Organization (NASPO), an ISO and ANSI accredited standards developer, is developing new initiatives along with a rebranding strategy. NASPO Chairman Rick Ward stated in a press release that the organization is planning to establish specific operating units to expand and optimize the full potential of NASPO’s mission related to security management standards development, professional training, and security compliance, auditing, and certification.
Masterbatches provide a means of fighting counterfeiting and diversion. PolyOne Corp. is now offering Percept Authentication Technologies, a family of covert, overt, and forensic technologies.
A company spokesperson tells PMP News that Percept "is delivered to the polymer via a masterbatch. Plastics processors combine the masterbatch with natural (uncolored) polymer to color and provide functional additives to the final mix prior to molding it into a net-shape part."
Drug counterfeiting is the crime of the 21st century, says Ron Guido, and to fight it, the pharmaceutical industry must work together. Guido is hopeful that industry groups such as Rx-360 and efforts to develop federal legislation like the Safeguarding America's Pharmaceuticals Act of 2013 and supporting regulations will make a difference, but there is much work left undone.
HP and Brady Corp. are collaborating to provide one resource for product tracking and authentication. Brady Corp. is the first authorized reseller of the HP Global Product Authentication Service (HP GPAS), a cloud-based approach to identifying, locating, and fighting counterfeiting.
At this week's 7th Global Forum on Pharmaceutical AntiCounterfeiting & Diversion in Washington, DC, Robert Hormats, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, detailed progress under the State Department’s Safe Medicines Strategy. The program includes U.S. funding of 24 projects mainly in Africa and Asia. For instance, a pilot project in India aimed at building awareness is reportedly reducing the use of fake medicines in certain villages.