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Countering Counterfeiting with RFID Technology

Counterfeiting affects the pharmaceutical sector on a global scale, with the value of counterfeit products traded worldwide estimated to be around €4 billion per year. With the topic high on the agenda for governing bodies and manufacturers alike, some steps have already been taken to introduce anti-counterfeiting measures, such as tracking labels, to make medicines easier to trace and harder to replicate. However, to effectively tackle the challenge the grey market presents, the solution needs to be tamper-proof, cost-effective, and easy to realise on a large scale. This article explores why leveraging radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to improve supply chain visibility and integrity can be key to overcoming the challenge.

The volume of falsified and counterfeit medicines has been increasing steadily. Several factors, including high profit margins, low risk of detection, and weak penalties, make pharmaceutical products an attractive target for criminals. They are also relatively easy to pass onto consumers as authentic products. Regardless of the type of drug, counterfeit products present a serious risk to health and safety, and, in a worst-case scenario, they can cost lives. The practice also has profound financial implications.

It infringes intellectual property rights, damaging pharma manufacturers’ profitability, while EU governments lose around €1.7 billion per year in revenue. Clearly, both manufacturers and governments have a lot to gain by eliminating the issue.

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Francesco Fantoni Guerci is CEO at Murata ID Solutions – a spin-off company of the University of Parma, Italy, and now part of the Murata Group. Francesco has led the company from its start-up phase to date, and his focus is on developing new business solutions and strategic relationships with channel partners. An engineer from the Politecnico di Milano, Italy, his career in operations progressed in his roles as Production Manager, Technical Director, and Supply Chain Director in major companies such as Parmalat, Bobst Group, and Parmacotto.
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Francesco Fantoni Guerci
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