How Pharmaceutical Companies Are Keeping Consumers Protected From Counterfeit Drugs With Serialisation Techniques

Written by Wall Street News on February 22, 2016. Posted in Blister pack packaging, Pharma track and trace, Serialisation pharma

Track and trace pharma

Science is an amazing thing in the right hands. However, many people have been using it to their own advantage in a way that does not benefit the larger public. For example, drug counterfeit and adulteration has become a huge problem in recent years and something that many people aren’t aware of. The Internet only further drives the illegal drug trade and fake prescription medicines are in high demand. Pharmaceutical companies are trying desperately to fix the widespread problem and introducing stricter measures and protocols that they hope will help stop a serious issue. Serialisation pharma is one of those measures — making sure that each package that goes through an assembly line is followed until delivery into a store near you, to assure that nothing has been tampered with or rerouted.
So What’s the Issue Exactly?
The counterfeit drug trade is worth almost $80 billion on a global scale — no small potatoes. And a lot of it comes from overseas distributors, where costs are cheaper and protocols are less strict. It’s tough to track the progress of pharmaceuticals, simply because the supply chain that creates them has become longer and longer, which creates more loopholes for counterfeiters to use to their advantage. In some cases, it’s simply bad marketing: the ingredients are fudged or unclear, the labeling is misleading, or the predicted outcome is amped up. In other cases, the wrong product is put into circulation. A lack of consistent guidelines and protocols across countries doesn’t help this either. And of course, there’s also blatant counterfeiting — drugs that have less or more of the needed ingredients that are packaged as the real drug.
This can harm consumers who are ingesting too much or too little of the drug they’ve prescribed and costs pharmaceutical companies billions of dollars in time and expense, especially when they have to recall hundreds of thousands of products and return ones that are still in the process of being made. Their reputation can also be hurt if word gets out that counterfeit drugs were being sold under their brand name.
How Are Pharmaceutical Packaging Companies Trying to Stop It?
One major way that pharmaceutical companies are trying to put a stop to it is by serialising their packaging. The idea of serialisation pharma has led global efforts, conferences, and new rules to be introduced. They believe that pharmaceutical serialisation like track and trace serialisation will greatly help manufacture data, keep consumers safe, and firmly establish a brand. In addition to services that already exist like lot number and an expiration date, a serialisation number would allow the product to be tracked through all its different stop on the way to the drugstore. Liners and seals that keep the product from being touched by outside forces and reassure the customer that nothing has been tampered with just isn’t a foolproof method anymore.
Serialisation Pharma What?
Serialisation pharma basically means that a two-dimensional bar code will placed on each package that goes through the system. These can be easily read by a vision system and uploaded to a database that can be seen by pharmacists, law enforcement, and in some cases, even consumers themselves to ensure that the product is legitimate. Other codes may be added during the process to add extra layers of security and the manufacturer will have tracking information on all the shipments going out from warehouses. It encourages accountability at every step and will make it easier for people to see if something’s gone awry and at what step it did so. Pharmaceuticals will become easier to authenticate and new global standards will hopefully create a baseline for everyone to work from, eliminating the gray area that many counterfeiters can use to their advantage. Serialisation works to everyone’s advantage, using technology that’s already in use and easy to access, and providing a better measure of control for manufacturers and consumers alike.
The hope is that in the near future, consumers won’t have to worry about the health risks associated with using counterfeit drugs. Everyone should be entitled to quality healthcare and safety in their treatment.

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