Drug counterfeiting is a serious problem both in developed and developing countries. To prevent the sale of spurious drugs, the government has announced that pharmaceutical companies will be required to display a barcode and QR code on their medicines. These codes shall contain information such as the drug name, brand name, manufacturer’s name and address, batch number and expiration date to ensure that the drugs are genuine and safe for patients. These new technologies are expected to reduce the cost of medical supplies and improve patient safety.
The fight against fake medicines is important not only for patients but also for the companies themselves. Diverted products are sold at cheaper prices than the legitimate product and can cause illnesses (to consumers) and damage a company's reputation.
The government of India is moving towards a comprehensive new regulatory framework to prevent the spread of fake medicines. In India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has recently issued draft regulations mandating the use of a 2D barcode on pharmaceutical packages. Though the move to impose a barcode on pharmaceuticals is hailed by experts, the pharma industry was reportedly hesitant initially, citing the cost of the technology. Since the concept was first proposed (a decade ago), the cost of the technology has dropped significantly, and the Indian pharma industry apparently welcomes the move ...
Introducing QR code to popular drugs and medicines will help consumers and healthcare professionals identify genuine medicines and stop the supply of spurious and counterfeit drugs. The Indian authorities plan to implement this scheme phase-wise, starting with top brand medicines with a market share of at least 35%. These drugs are at the highest risk of being faked, so this technology has great potential to save lives.
Fraudulent and counterfeit medicines continue to plague the Indian pharma industry. Using the QR code to track medicines from the factory to the patient is an effective way to combat this issue.
The new generation of anti-counterfeiting technologies is designed to work with the barcode and make it "copy-proof" to prevent counterfeiting. This is important, as counterfeiters will use any means necessary to keep their business afloat. With a non-clonable barcode, the counterfeiter's product will not survive authentication and will be flagged as a fraudulent product.
Despite its potential benefits, the lack of uniformity in the use of barcodes and QR codes might make it difficult to prevent counterfeit medicines and improve the safety of patients. Perhaps a centralized source giving the QR/ bar code to the entire pharma industry might ease the challenges (around QR coding) while augmenting the benefit.
By utilizing the bar code and QR code on pharmaceutical packaging, users can verify the authenticity of a medicine online. The QR code/bar code system shall be designed to prevent the creation of two identical serial numbers on a single piece of pharmaceutical packaging. The move is likely to prevent spurious and counterfeit drugs. They can also be used to track and trace medicines and provide a unique serial number.
Track & Trace system
A Track & Trace system can be a huge help in stopping spurious and counterfeit drugs. These systems are increasingly being promoted as preventive measures against drug counterfeiting, including RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) technology and 2D Data Matrix codes. However, the effectiveness of these systems is still unclear. Although they can identify counterfeit drugs at the point of dispensation, they require extensive infrastructure, resources and time to implement. Moreover, this would be particularly difficult for low-income countries.
Creating a Track & Trace system would allow for greater transparency in the pharmaceutical supply chain, and also help to detect and prevent spurious and counterfeit drugs. It would also improve public health and protect wealth by allowing for faster recalls of harmful drugs. Lastly, the system would ensure smooth communication between stakeholders and promote ethical business practices.
As the cost of counterfeit drugs continues to rise, the pharmaceutical industry is seeking cost-effective ways to prevent them from entering the supply chain. Moreover, track & trace technology will help drug makers to identify leaks in their distribution systems and enforce their contract terms. For this reason, the industry is keen to introduce this new technology into the supply chain. These technologies have the potential to significantly cut costs and time and protect patients.
While drug counterfeiting poses a serious public health issue, there are very few studies that have assessed the effectiveness of various interventions to combat the problem. Future research should address the methodological limitations of existing studies, develop reliable data collection tools and determine the effectiveness of different systems in preventing the sale of counterfeit drugs.
RFID technology has huge potential to stop spurious and counterfeit drugs. This technology gives manufacturers the ability to track the entire supply chain of a prescription drug. It also provides information about expiration dates and stock levels of a drug. It can also be used to trace surgical equipment, medical devices, and other products. It can prevent the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit products and help pharmaceutical companies combat the escalating problem.
RFID technology can help pharmaceutical manufacturers reduce their costs and improve the safety of their products by ensuring traceability of every step in the supply chain. It can also reduce drug-related errors and improve pharmaceutical management. However, it must be integrated into the workflow of pharmaceutical companies and be interoperable with the RFID systems of their partners. This technology can also be costly to implement. Nevertheless, the pharmaceutical industry is slowly moving toward incorporating RFID technology.
Many experts believe that RFID technology is essential for the safety of pharmaceutical products.
The RFID technology can be tagged to pharmaceutical packaging electronically and can be used to monitor pharmaceutical products and determine their authenticity. In addition to improving traceability, RFID systems can improve transportation and decrease mistakes at hospitals. Currently, the world's pharmaceutical industry estimates that between ten and fifteen percent of all drugs sold globally are counterfeited. This percentage increases in the developing world, especially in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Counterfeit drugs have high potential to cause health problems, especially among children and pregnant women.
RFID technology can also be used to track commodities through the supply chain. The RFID tag can track a product from the manufacturer to distributors to the pharmacy. This technology can also prevent the entry of counterfeit products into legitimate commerce. RFID technology also provides encryption and an electronic pedigree, making it difficult for counterfeiters to access these products.
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Categories: Operational Excellence | Life Sciences
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