By David Wicker, DSS VP of Research and Development
Note: This article first appeared in PDA’s Tech Trends. To learn more, please visit www.pda.org
According to the WHO, the range of counterfeit pharmaceutical products reaching markets around the world continues to broaden with increasing internet retail sales for both branded and generic drugs. In more than 50% of cases, medicines purchased over the internet from illegal sites have been found to be counterfeit. That same study states that worldwide counterfeit drugs sales were estimated to top US $75 billion, a 90% increase over the previous five years.
While there are many statistics on counterfeiting’s impact on companies and consumers, these studies only give a glimpse into the extent of the problem. Most experts believe that the increasing sophistication of counterfeits along with flexibility from the internet to market them, has led to increasing occurrences of counterfeits entering the supply chain.
Because imaging technology evolves so rapidly and online retail stores can quickly disappear and reappear elsewhere, the digital security and authentication business must work hard to remain ahead of the counterfeiters. One of the biggest challenges involves staying ahead with innovation and technology.
The technologies fit into two categories: anti-counterfeiting and authentication. Anti-counterfeiting technologies make it difficult for counterfeiters to accurately reproduce a document, label or package with a desktop scanner or a copier.
Authentication technologies provide validation of genuine articles or websites through propitiatory lenses, optically variable changes and even through leading edge smartphone applications.
For the pharmaceutical industry, authentication features need to resist duplication, provide real-time authentication with devices that are not cost prohibitive and are readily available, and can report problems within the supply chain. Solutions should also secure, organize, and archive the collected data for brand owner and investigator use. Optimal authentication features will also help consumers determine if they are purchasing from an authorized website.
For more information on how brand owners and consumers alike can curb the issue of counterfeit websites and product, please visit www.AuthentiGuard.com