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Anti-Counterfeiting: A Multi-Layered Approach

 

When my parents joined our family on a vacation this spring, I asked my father about the medication he was taking each morning for high blood pressure. When I inquired, “Are you sure you have the real thing, not a fake?” he looked puzzled and shrugged his shoulders. Like most people, my father had never considered the possibility that his prescription medication could be counterfeit. Yet pharmaceutical counterfeiting is a growing global problem, affecting public health and the pharmaceutical industry.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 10 per cent of the world’s drug supply is counterfeit (1). This figure increases dramatically in developing countries that lack the resources to validate all their incoming drugs. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) believes that the largest number of counterfeit products come from China and India, as well as south-east Asia, Nigeria, Russia, Mexico, Brazil and Latin America. Drug counterfeiting has become an industry worth more than €1 billion (2).

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) has identified 32 products at high risk of being counterfeited. My father’s drug is not among them, nor are countless other products that have already been affected by counterfeiting (3).

A counterfeit medicine, as defined by the WHO, “is one which is deliberately and fraudulently mislabelled with respect to identity, composition and/or source...Counterfeit products may include products with correct ingredients or with the wrong ingredients, without active ingredients, with insufficient active ingredients or with fake packaging” (4).

Trends in Brand Security

Today, pharmaceutical companies are placing far more emphasis than ever before on packaging and security features for brand safety, particularly for their most popular brands. They dedicate teams to find qualified pharmaceutical packaging printers who can help them stay informed of the latest developments in this arena, determine which security features the company should adopt, and incorporate them into their products.


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Eric Caro is Global Product Manager for Catalent’s Printed Components Business. Eric provides technical support to the plant and sales team on labels and inserts, and drives new and existing projects through the organisation to increase speed to market. He is also responsible for analysing customer and business needs to determine what equipment, tooling or delivery systems to introduce to the market and for providing engineering support to the sales team and customers. Prior to joining Catalent, he was a Research and Development Manager, as well as a Senior Account Executive for Cortegra. Prior to that, Eric was an Account Manager for Prime Graphics, and also an Account Manager at Pechiney Plastic Packaging at Alcan. Eric has many years of technical experience in the healthcare packaging industry. He holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering Technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
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