G&D | Counterfeit detection: trends in the pharma sector



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Counterfeit medications are gaining ground around the world

Today, counterfeit drugs are not restricted either in terms of location or type. Until recently, counterfeit pharmaceutical products were mainly detected in the lifestyle medication sector: e.g. potency medicines, which were mainly only sold over the Internet. Another core area for the counterfeit drug trade used to be developing countries. In Africa, for example, the spectrum extended over all possible application areas and pharmaceutical forms, in particular malaria drugs and antibiotics. In the meantime, awareness for potential counterfeits has risen considerably in pharmaceutical companies and politics. This is why individual countries, such as France and Turkey, are now promoting the clear labeling of individual medication packaging. The European Union is also deliberating over a draft bill that would impose this labeling as standard.

Pharmaceutical labeling standard

An individual logo is printed on each package using inkjet printers in the packaging line. As well as a globally recognized identifier for pharmaceuticals and products based on the GTIN, the logo also contains the batch number and expiry date, as is obligatory nowadays. The actual individual identity is created using a random serial number, which is unique and only used once and which cannot be generated, predicted, or deduced. This data is stored in a data matrix code, such as those that are increasingly used in various ways in day-to-day life, and can be read with standard readers.

Authentication

However, an individual code of this kind is not an authenticity feature, because it is very easy to copy. Giesecke & Devrient offers a wide range of overt and covert authentication features for this area, which can be easily integrated into the existing production process. We pay particular attention to synergies, which arise from a combination of authentication features and digital labels.




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