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home > pmps > summer 2003 > authentication solutions: degrees of difficulty
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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Authentication Solutions: Degrees of Difficulty

Pharmaceutical firms are known for their large investments in aggressive and sophisticated marketing, which can easily exceed $50 million for many brand name drugs. Yet is the firm receiving the revenue that the brand is attracting or is it going to counterfeiters, disloyal distributors and other criminals? For example, a drug that drives $500 million in annual revenues and has a conservative five per cent counterfeiting and/or diversion problem, is losing $25 million in top line revenue. The stakes are even higher for the more than 20 drugs that bring in annual sales of one billion plus each year, especially since these drugs tend to have the cache and profit margins that counterfeiters covet.

The pharmaceutical industry also has the added burden of liability and consumer confidence obligations as Figure 1, Figure 2 and Figure 3 detail. Loss of revenue due to product and brand compromise is no longer an accepted cost when doing business. As detailed in previous PMPS articles, there are a number of commercially available technologies each with properties that make them well suited for combating fraud in different applications. Figure 3 illustrates some of the key features of the different technologies and most importantly, the ease with which they can be copied or counterfeited. Interestingly enough, those with some of the most sophisticated security features are not necessarily the most expensive on a per unit basis.

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By Dr Dale Spall PhD, Chief Science Officer and David Moxam, CEO of Isotag

Dr Dale Spall is Chief Scientific Officer at Isotag and oversees the company's Los Alamos-based Research and Development Centre for Authentication Solutions and leads a team of world-class PhDs. He joined Isotag in 1996, bringing more than 20 years' experience from the world-renowned Los Alamos National Laboratory. He holds multiple patents and developed the molecular marking technology that was subsequently commercialised by Isotag. Dr Spall has published more than 80 scientific journal articles and is an active industry speaker.


Mr David Moxam is CEO of Isotag and a leading voice on covert authentication technologies. He is an active industry speaker and has appeared in numerous publications and television programmes. He is also a 15-year veteran of the information technology industry and served as president of EDS's global financial markets group based in Manhattan.

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Dr Dale Spall
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Mr David Moxam
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