The Importance of Track and Trace and Product Verification in the Pharmaceutical Industry

In a recent article from the Wall Street Journal’s Logistics Report, Andrew Stevens, a Research Director at Gartner, Inc., urged supply-chain providers to develop and adopt solutions that can combat the $200 billion counterfeit pharmaceutical industry. Counterfeiters producing fake pharmaceuticals have developed sophisticated techniques to replicate the appearance of pills and packaging, tricking consumers into thinking that their products are made by legitimate, registered companies. Stevens further warns that some counterfeiters “even can mimic IT verification web portals used by manufacturers.” Although Stevens recognizes counterfeiter’s ability to stay keep up with brand protection trends, he believes that track and trace and product verification are two important ways to curtail the counterfeit pharmaceutical industry.

Stevens’s article appeared just after INTERPOL executed Operation Pangea VIII. From June 9-16, 115 countries and 236 agencies participated in a worldwide effort to combat the sale of illegal medicines online. As a result of the operation, a record 20.7 million fake and illicit medicines worth over $81 million were seized. These fake and illicit medicines included blood pressure medication, erectile dysfunction pills, cancer medication and nutritional supplements. Operation Pangea VIII also resulted in 2,410 websites related to the selling illegal and illicit medicines being taken offline.

Serialization techniques like track and trace and consumer-level product verification allow pharmaceutical companies to monitor their products across the entire supply chain, from manufacture to consumption. As a result, pharmaceutical companies can have transparency on their shipments, make sure that their products are not stolen and sold illegally, and help consumers ensure that they only buy genuine medicine from legitimate, registered companies.

Stevens concludes the article by stating that “product integrity, quality and full end-to-end supply chain traceability are no longer a ‘nice to have’ but becoming a prerequisite for both industry and consumers alike.” As an experienced service provider for brand protection solutions, we completely agree. Our award-winning Mobile Product Authentication™ (MPA™) and Cascading Authentication™ track-and-trace solutions have been supporting the brand protection initiatives of both large multi-national pharmaceutical companies and local pharmaceutical businesses. Our solutions also protect products across other industries, as we work with businesses around the world including electrical goods, FMCG, and automotive companies.

What other solutions can pharmaceutical companies use to curtail the counterfeit pharmaceutical industry? Please let us know in the comments.