Counterfeit medicines are a serious and growing problem. Some estimates indicate that the global trade in counterfeit drugs approaches $200 billion per year. Globalization and the rise of eCommerce and B2B websites help to facilitate this growth in illicit trade. The real impact is the potential harm to patients from taking substandard or dangerous counterfeit medicines. Manufacturers and brand owners must be vigilant in working to protect their products and supply chain from the threat of counterfeits. One key aspect of securing a product supply chain is to prevent genuine packaging components from falling into the hands of counterfeiters. By putting fake or substandard medicines into discarded genuine packaging components, illicit traders have a better chance of reintroducing that product into the legitimate supply chain.
In order to prevent this scenario, manufacturers and brand owners must take a comprehensive overview of the security of both their upstream and downstream supply chain. By understanding the potential weak spots for security at suppliers, printers, manufacturing sites, distributors and dispensers, measures can be taken to protect against possible leakage of products or packaging. Documented process should be put in place for the management and sharing of intellectual property such as labelling, artwork and design. Controls should be in place to ensure the segregation and secure destruction of waste packaging materials that could be of tremendous value to counterfeiters and illicit traders. Pharmaceutical packaging should be designed with tamper evidence in mind so that used product packaging components cannot be re-purposed for use with counterfeit drugs.
This white paper will look at ways to secure the end to end supply chain with the goal of limiting opportunities for these types of legitimate packaging materials to leak into the illicit supply chain. It will also address a number of tamper evident technologies that may help to indicate to end users that the product has already been used, making the materials less useful to counterfeiters and helping to protecting patients.