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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Product Authentication: A Tiered Approach to Protect Brand Owners and Consumers

In recent years, the UN and WHO have reported considerable product recalls – as well as fatalities caused by serious illnesses, including malaria and cancer – due to the consumption of falsified or expired vaccines and drugs. A more concerted, global-centric approach to combat illicit trades, smuggling, counterfeiting, and product diversion is clearly necessary. We have the technology to verify medicine – now we need the will to employ it.

The problem is widespread and confounding. A high percentage of illicit drug fraud is spearheaded by sophisticated counterfeiting organisations that poison consumers, ruin brands, and jeopardise overall faith in the pharmaceutical industry at large. They take the tried and tested quality control methods of pharma manufacturers – standard operating procedures, best manufacturing processes, modern inspection techniques, and supply chain security – and mimic them, often incredibly convincingly. Counterfeits can appear cosmetically identical to authentic products, especially since the advent and proliferation of 3D printing. These drugs might even contain matching base ingredients, but with omitted or vastly reduced active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), diminishing or entirely negating a drug’s intended medicinal effects.

Increasingly, cyber-counterfeiting is also common. Such tech-centric fraud infiltrates mobile apps, landing pages, and software (especially for product authentication and verification), and convincingly mimics them to dupe caregivers, consumers, and key trading partners. This way, when barcodes are scanned on the final products, caregivers, supply chain partners, and end users may be directed to a counterfeited authentication page, giving the impression they are engaged with the brand owner’s website or official government oversight organisation.

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Jeremy Stillman has been in the security solutions and managed services industry for over 20 years. Following a degree in Business and Marketing, he started his career in information security, evolving into digital supply chain and brand protection. Progressing through consulting, professional services and business development roles, finally leading businesses in the execution of track and trace and brand protection to both global brands and international governments. Jeremy has been a major contributor to the formation of business strategies for industry-leading organisations. Focusing on how digital innovation can increase revenues and maximise efficiencies through the implementation of security systems; enabling organisations to be more agile, competitive, and secure within their market. As the Brand Protection Director for Antares Vision, Jeremy is accountable for all activities relating to anti-diversion and anti-counterfeit solutions for brands and governments.

Dr Roula Karam joined Antares Vision three years ago, and she is currently holding the position of Marketing Research and Innovation Analyst. Roula has had 20 years of experience building a professional and academic/research profile. She holds PhD in Informatics and Mathematics from the University INSA de Lyon, France, after completing a Masters in Telecommunication Engineering. Roula has worked at five different companies and six universities in three different countries as a telecommunication engineer, an ITC associate professor, and scientific researcher. She has been speaker in many international conferences and workshops, publishing many scientific articles and whitepapers on innovative trends applied to Industrial IoT, smart cities, geographic information system (GIS) and crowdsourcing, digital transformation of supply chains, and healthcare innovation.
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Jeremy Stillman
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Dr Roula Karam
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