Discussions

Differentiate your business with Technology

Every business that wants to stand out from the crowd does so with technology in todays world. Whether its a little tweak to your sales process or an internal Human resource tool, more and more businesses are looking to technology to help ease their processes or even provide them with a competitive marketable edge in their industry. 

Imagine in your industry, a wave of counterfeiting has hit like it has in the Nigerian cosmetic space, how does your business stay competitive and protect its consumers? Solutions like the Sproxil Champion product enable businesses fight the issue, stay afloat and infuse technology into their processes for better efficiency. How do we mean? The Sproxil Champion product has two sides to the technology. There is the anti-counterfeiting feature and the loyalty marketing feature.

Take for example a cosmetic company called "X Cosmetics" is facing counterfeiting challenges and is experiencing loss in consumer trust in the product, the Sproxil Champion is a solution that can help bring back that consumer and also possibly bring more consumers in the process. X cosmetics reaches out to Sproxil to install the Champion feature on their product and they agree to reward their customers for purchasing with airtime or physical gifts, this not only serves as a marketing campaign for the product, it also weeds out the counterfeit versions automatically from the market. Consumers will be made aware to look out for the label which means the products without labels do not move in the market. Consumers that probably did not purchase the products previously, see the promotions and want to take part in it. This enables the business regain lost market share, gain new market share, restore confidence in their products and most importantly increase their bottom line. 

 

 

Once great branding and hard work has been put behind your product, be rest assured that counterfeiters will want to capitalize on your success. To ensure this is not the case with your brand, contact us to discuss about the Sproxil Champion product

E-Commerce Sites and Counterfeiting

The correlation between e-commerce sites and counterfeiting has become more pronounced in more recent times. Big name websites like Alibaba.com are constantly looking for creative ways to eliminate counterfeiting from their platform. While this is a step in the right direction, it is also proving difficult for other smaller e-commerce sites that do not have adequate resources to fight counterfeiting.

Counterfeiters have also taken things to a new level to create products that do not exist within a company's brand portfolio but they use the company name anyway. Majority of FMCG brands suffer this fate. Due to their diverse portfolio of products in different countries, Counterfeiters take advantage of FMCG brands by creating a new product line which they can argue is not necessarily a substandard product after all they are expanding their service offering. This is however counterfeiting nonetheless as this is using a brand name to market their product. 

How can E-commerce sites tackle this issue?

Strong partnership with brand owners

A partnership with brand owners enables e-commerce sites identify their official distribution channels. This enables the e-commerce sites weed out any unauthorized re-seller so they would not be allowed to upload their listings on the website. It would be advisable for anyone willing to sell another company's products on the e-commerce websites to obtain permission from the brand owner and the signed document should be uploaded to the platform to verify the authenticity of the seller.

Consumer Awareness

E-Commerce sites have a responsibility to constantly educate consumers about being conscious of their purchases from the website. There needs to be effective follow-up strategy for consumers who purchase a product from the site that is counterfeit. The e-commerce website can partner with authorities to track the seller and hold them accountable. 

Enforcement

Partnership with regulatory and law enforcement authorities will go a long way in enabling e-commerce sites put an end to distribution of counterfeit products on their site. Once an example is made of a few counterfeiters, the rest would be discouraged from using the platform. Once a counterfeiter is identified, they should be traced with the information provided during their registration and punished according to the law of the jurisdiction they are part of. 

It is important for e-commerce business both existing and future to remain accountable and socially responsible even within the business realm as the lives of individuals are at the mercy of the their websites. 

 

 

Three Ways Data can improve Marketing Effectiveness

If you are plugged in, you would have heard by now that data can improve marketing effectiveness. The details may be blurry depending on the environment your business operates in and ease of access to such data. Many companies rely on big data agencies to provide them with information about their consumers. Companies end up spending a fortune to get this information to enable them improve their marketing. How exactly does this help? Does it justify the spend to agencies? Here are three ways data can improve marketing effectiveness.

Market Segmentation

Data enables you break down consumer information into different categories. You can evaluate consumers by age, gender, location, marital status etc and understand why a certain group is purchasing your product versus the group you assumed would make most of the purchases. You have a clearer picture of who your primary and secondary customers are and why. For example, if you are an FMCG brand that specializes in tea production, you may see an increase in sales in green tea because majority of the younger and even older people have been told that green tea is beneficial for detoxing. This helps you plan your merchandise so you can increase stock for your green tea products. This brings us to our next point.

Merchandise Planning

No matter the size of your business, no organization wants to have a full warehouse with products that have not moved for over a month. Data can relieve your company of this burden. As portrayed in my previous example, if the company gathers information that their green tea products are moving faster, they would increase supply of that product and regulate supply for the others to match its demand and that can only be done with data. This also enables the company to switch marketing direction for that product to create more awareness since its moving anyway. 

Customer Loyalty

The price wars that companies get into sometimes sway consumers to try other products. If an organization has done the background work to ensure that their consumers are not easily swayed, then no matter the new price offerings, consumers will remain loyal to a brand. What does this background work involve? Some companies run loyalty marketing campaigns to initially capture the information of the buyer. They then further probe these consumers immediately after the campaign to find out reasons why they bought their product and what exactly they would like to see. If their reasons go beyond pricing and the promotion bait, they take that information and improve their products. So when pricing wars begin, they are not easily swayed because the company that ran the promotion has now tailored the new and improved product to exactly what the customer needs. The customer ends up paying for quality and relevance and is likely to overlook the price to get value for their buck. 

How to Decrease Marketing Spend and Increase Sales

How can a business possible decrease marketing spend and increase sales? Is there something we know that your business does not. As a matter of fact, there is. The easy answer is Sproxil Champion but the long answer involves crafting the right promotion tactics to fit what your consumers expect to see. Every marketing department is always looking for creative ways to decrease their marketing spend but improve the return on investment on said marketing spend. In tough economic times, this is more of a priority that most. The question is how to achieve this given the fact that consumers tend to decrease their spending during tough economic times. Brands are not only trying to reduce their marketing spend, they are also trying to double their sales using the same amount of money. There are a few solutions to tackle this unique issue.

For example, If brands run a scratch, text and win promotion campaign they are generating awareness of their products and their brand to their consumers. The brand stays top of mind for the consumer and even prompts them to visit the stores to purchase the product because of the perceived discount they will receive. Depending on the modalities of the promotions, they are also likely to participate multiple times in the promotions to increase their chances of winning. By doing this, sales of the product increases without the brand necessarily spending more on marketing.

Brands can also define the modalities of the promotions to encourage consumers to refer their friends to the brand during the promotion period. This helps the brand acquire more authentic consumers because they come peer-reviewed. We live in a world where consumers trust peer reviews much more than the brand messaging so it is important to incorporate creative strategies when running a sproxil champion campaign.

If your business would like to run a promo campaign, do not hesitate to contact us. How is your business thriving in these economic times?

How to decrease marketing spend and increase sales- (1)

The Role of Health Professionals in Preventing Counterfeit Drugs

The penetration of counterfeit drugs in the Sub Saharan African market has experienced a significant decline according to the regulatory authorities especially in Nigeria called NAFDAC. [ Peoples Daily NG]  This is as a result of the awareness that has been created about the problem, the implementation of technological solutions like Sproxil and the awareness of the presence of the solution. The power of creating awareness is sometimes underestimated by stakeholders. Given the situation of counterfeiting, it has proven to be an effective method of eliminating the problem in conjunction with other solutions. One of our esteemed partners at Sproxil, Acumen recently conducted a survey to evaluate customer feedback and understand the depth of the impact Sproxil has made. Their questions ranged from understanding how they heard about the Sproxil service to the translated benefits of using the service in their homes. The results were astonishing. 50% of respondents mentioned that they heard about the Sproxil service from their doctors and pharmacists., 17% said radio, 16% said family & friends etc.

health professionals prevent counterfeiting

The results of this survey shows that the health care professionals play a significant role in eliminating the use of counterfeit drugs in the society in which they live in. If a consumer walks into a drug store and wants to buy an anti-malarial drug, the pharmacist hands it over to them. The next step is for that pharmacist or health professional on duty to notify the consumer about the importance of verifying their drug before consumption. That way, the consumer is aware of the possibility of counterfeit versions of that drug and would always ask to scratch a label before purchasing. They are also subconsciously aware of the solution that exists to combat this problem. Which then makes them inform that family and friends and the chain of awareness is created.

How have you been creating awareness in your community about the dangers of counterfeit drugs?

Medication Adherence - The $564 Billion Dollar Problem

We live in a time where chronic diseases or illnesses do not necessarily have to lead to constant, crippling pain or ill fates. Through groundbreaking advancements in medical technology, we now have the option to manage our own wellbeing through properly prescribed health regimens. The problem is that when we don’t follow the doctor’s orders (like forgetting to take the medication or taking incorrect doses), we get in the way of good health. This non-compliance – coined medication non-adherence - is costly: the global pharmaceutical industry is estimated to lose $564 billion a year because of it.

While some may feel that the pharmaceutical industry’s loss is not their own, the truth is that the massive figure implies there are millions of people who are not taking care of their own health. It speaks to a greater negative impact on overall societal health and happiness.

WHEN WE DO NOT ADHERE TO OUR MEDICATION:

  • We don’t receive the full benefits of treatment and can even exacerbate our condition
  • We can be burdened further by increased health care costs and other unnecessary financial costs
  • In emerging markets where hospitals already have limited resources, incoming patients can further strain the health care provider’s ability to provide quality care to everyone
  • Medical researchers who study the value of the medication lose important data points that can lead to other patients’ positive health outcomes

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WHO ARE THE PEOPLE THAT DO NOT ADHERE?

It may be easy to believe that medical non-adherence is caused by stubborn people who refuse to take their medicine. But it’s not that simple. Many patients who fail to properly take their medication are older, may be unable to care for themselves independently, do not understand how to comply, or are unable to pay for the cost of treatment. There are a myriad of reasons and increasingly complex cultural or economical circumstances that can exacerbate the issue.

REASONS PATIENTS DO NOT ADHERE?

In emerging markets, lack of data and limited access to quality health care providers also contribute to increasing non-adherence problems.

To address this issue, we identified a solution for pharmaceutical companies to help patients stick to their regimen while still ensuring patient privacy (you can email us at team@sproxil.com for more information). Through understanding purchasing trends on an individual level and being proactive, pharmaceutical companies can empower their patients and their loved ones to lead healthier and happier lives.

While medical non-adherence may not have a silver bullet solution or ever truly become solved, the health care industry must continue its mission and make strides to improve global heath.

Why do you think patients don't adhere to their medicine?

What do you think stakeholders should do to help them?

Drug Serialization in Brazil

Drug serialization is the process of identifying a medicine with a unique serial number that can be shared with others if necessary. It helps to track the movement of drugs within supply chains. Last year Brazil laid out a three-year comprehensive plan using serialization to stop the counterfeit drug market there. On January 14 2009, law Nº 11.903 was passed that mandates drug manufacturers and distributors in Brazil implement track and trace drug serialization. It created the National System of Medications’ Control to oversee the production, marketing, and distribution of medicines amongst other controls. Control will be by means of a serialized identification system including electronic capture, storage and transmission.

The law was scheduled to be implemented in steps over a 3 year timeframe to adequately prepare for the changes and stipulated the following deadlines:

  • 2010 - Manufacturers and Suppliers
  • 2011 - Purchasers, Products and Transportation and Logistics
  • 2012 - Consumer/patient, Prescription and Doctors

However the scale and breadth of such a massive undertaking have already caused delays and the 2010 deadline seems to be slipping. Still we strongly support these efforts as moving in the right direction.

Drug serialization will help patients to get authentic drugs and medical devices and reduce the incidents of counterfeits. Pharmaceutical companies will also benefit as serialization will ultimately reduce logistics costs help to avert theft at various levels of their supply chains.

Drug Serialization in Brazil

Drug serialization is the process of identifying a medicine with a unique serial number that can be shared with others if necessary. It helps to track the movement of drugs within supply chains. Last year Brazil laid out a three-year comprehensive plan using serialization to stop the counterfeit drug market there. On January 14 2009, law Nº 11.903 was passed that mandates drug manufacturers and distributors in Brazil implement track and trace drug serialization. It created the National System of Medications’ Control to oversee the production, marketing, and distribution of medicines amongst other controls. Control will be by means of a serialized identification system including electronic capture, storage and transmission.

The law was scheduled to be implemented in steps over a 3 year timeframe to adequately prepare for the changes and stipulated the following deadlines:

  • 2010 - Manufacturers and Suppliers
  • 2011 - Purchasers, Products and Transportation and Logistics
  • 2012 - Consumer/patient, Prescription and Doctors

However the scale and breadth of such a massive undertaking have already caused delays and the 2010 deadline seems to be slipping. Still we strongly support these efforts as moving in the right direction.

Drug serialization will help patients to get authentic drugs and medical devices and reduce the incidents of counterfeits. Pharmaceutical companies will also benefit as serialization will ultimately reduce logistics costs help to avert theft at various levels of their supply chains.

India’s Drug Counterfeiting Menace

Drug counterfeiting has reached a level that threatens to damage the entire medical system and pharmaceutical industry.  Reuters recently reported that counterfeiting drugs are now $200 billion a year global business. The condition is more severe in developing countries like India where networks of distributors and laboratories making counterfeit drugs are strong. In the past few months the Food and Drug Administration of India conducted several raids and apprehended numerous people involved in fake drug trafficking. Even in the cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai pharmacists are selling fraudulently mislabeled and substandard drugs without any fear. The drugs were often found to be contaminated with paints, chalk powder and other impurities. Some drugs were degraded because of poor storage or they were repackaged after expiry. Several supposedly life saving drugs and antibiotics were without active ingredients.

According to Dr. Roger Bate, Legatum Fellow in Global Prosperity, “Since drugs made in India are sold around the world, the country's substandard drug trade represents a grave public health threat that extends far beyond the subcontinent. Unless serious steps are taken to improve the quality of the Indian drug supply, the global spread of unsafe pharmaceuticals will persist.

The Indian pharmaceutical industry is about $10 billion and some sources estimate that 10% of it is producing sub-standard drugs. Thousands of people die every year after consuming counterfeit or substandard drugs. In parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America it is estimated that 30% of all medicines imported from India and China are substandard. Fake drugs are a real threat to industry as well and are putting the goodwill of physicians and pharmaceutical companies at stake.

To stem the tide of counterfeit drugs concrete steps need to be taken at every level from manufacturers to distributors to regulatory authorities. The current anti-counterfeiting legislation in India has not stopped drug offenses. Penalties for making and selling fake drug are negligible compared to the profits. Huge profits drive more and more people to sell counterfeit drugs. Laws and regulations for selling narcotics like opium and cocaine are more severe thus encouraging criminals to manufacture counterfeit drugs rather than trade in narcotics.

Regulatory authorities need to be even more attentive.  Drug inspectors need to be more vigilant in carrying out their duties. Customers can help too and should be aware of new technologies that are in use to detect fake drugs.

India’s Drug Counterfeiting Menace

Drug counterfeiting has reached a level that threatens to damage the entire medical system and pharmaceutical industry.  Reuters recently reported that counterfeiting drugs are now $200 billion a year global business. The condition is more severe in developing countries like India where networks of distributors and laboratories making counterfeit drugs are strong. In the past few months the Food and Drug Administration of India conducted several raids and apprehended numerous people involved in fake drug trafficking. Even in the cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai pharmacists are selling fraudulently mislabeled and substandard drugs without any fear. The drugs were often found to be contaminated with paints, chalk powder and other impurities. Some drugs were degraded because of poor storage or they were repackaged after expiry. Several supposedly life saving drugs and antibiotics were without active ingredients.

According to Dr. Roger Bate, Legatum Fellow in Global Prosperity, “Since drugs made in India are sold around the world, the country's substandard drug trade represents a grave public health threat that extends far beyond the subcontinent. Unless serious steps are taken to improve the quality of the Indian drug supply, the global spread of unsafe pharmaceuticals will persist.

The Indian pharmaceutical industry is about $10 billion and some sources estimate that 10% of it is producing sub-standard drugs. Thousands of people die every year after consuming counterfeit or substandard drugs. In parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America it is estimated that 30% of all medicines imported from India and China are substandard. Fake drugs are a real threat to industry as well and are putting the goodwill of physicians and pharmaceutical companies at stake.

To stem the tide of counterfeit drugs concrete steps need to be taken at every level from manufacturers to distributors to regulatory authorities. The current anti-counterfeiting legislation in India has not stopped drug offenses. Penalties for making and selling fake drug are negligible compared to the profits. Huge profits drive more and more people to sell counterfeit drugs. Laws and regulations for selling narcotics like opium and cocaine are more severe thus encouraging criminals to manufacture counterfeit drugs rather than trade in narcotics.

Regulatory authorities need to be even more attentive.  Drug inspectors need to be more vigilant in carrying out their duties. Customers can help too and should be aware of new technologies that are in use to detect fake drugs.

NAFDAC Proof of Concept Results Online

We are pleased to announce the results of NAFDAC's use of cell phones to fight fake drugs in Nigeria. We had a successful 100-day pilot and we're now ready to scale up! If you are interested in the results, you may download the document here.

Update:

See the reaction from key industry voices.

In-PharmaTechnologist: "NAFDAC keen on new SMS anti-counterfeit results"

SecuringPharma: "Sproxil completes Nigerian text message verification pilot"

NAFDAC Proof of Concept Results Online

We are pleased to announce the results of NAFDAC's use of cell phones to fight fake drugs in Nigeria. We had a successful 100-day pilot and we're now ready to scale up! If you are interested in the results, you may download the document here.

Update:

See the reaction from key industry voices.

In-PharmaTechnologist: "NAFDAC keen on new SMS anti-counterfeit results"

SecuringPharma: "Sproxil completes Nigerian text message verification pilot"

Vanguard: NAFDAC intercepts fake drugs worth N600m (USD 4m)

NAFDAC has just disclosed that it has located USD 4m in fake drugs destined for Nigeria. This is a big win for Nigeria. The seven trucks loaded with fake medication have been prevented from entering the Nigerian market. In addition to the use of technology to find counterfeits, NAFDAC is also using best practices from the security/intelligence community, as revealed in the Vanguard article. We can also attest to this based on our interactions with NAFDAC.

We keep stressing that technology is an efficiency multiplier. An organization that doesn't have skilled staff, strong leadership and a focused mission may not gain maximal value from the use of technology. It's great to see that NAFDAC is proving this point by adopting existing strategies in the intelligence community while enhancing its anti-counterfeiting practices with a portfolio of technologies deployed at different levels in the supply chain. The results are clear.

Vanguard: NAFDAC intercepts fake drugs worth N600m (USD 4m)

NAFDAC has just disclosed that it has located USD 4m in fake drugs destined for Nigeria. This is a big win for Nigeria. The seven trucks loaded with fake medication have been prevented from entering the Nigerian market. In addition to the use of technology to find counterfeits, NAFDAC is also using best practices from the security/intelligence community, as revealed in the Vanguard article. We can also attest to this based on our interactions with NAFDAC.

We keep stressing that technology is an efficiency multiplier. An organization that doesn't have skilled staff, strong leadership and a focused mission may not gain maximal value from the use of technology. It's great to see that NAFDAC is proving this point by adopting existing strategies in the intelligence community while enhancing its anti-counterfeiting practices with a portfolio of technologies deployed at different levels in the supply chain. The results are clear.

Updated counterfeiting information from the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST)

This is a really short post. Given how it's often challenging to get good information on counterfeiting, we would like to help share recent information from the UK POST. Take a look at their report and listen to their 15 min podcast. You may even subscribe to their feed so that you get the latest information right away (includes much more than counterfeiting information). Enjoy.

Updated counterfeiting information from the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST)

This is a really short post. Given how it's often challenging to get good information on counterfeiting, we would like to help share recent information from the UK POST. Take a look at their report and listen to their 15 min podcast. You may even subscribe to their feed so that you get the latest information right away (includes much more than counterfeiting information). Enjoy.

Chinese Consul-General reportedly blames Nigerian businessmen for fakes

allAfrica.com is reporting that the Chinese Consul-General in Lagos, Mr. Guo Kun, said Nigerian entrepreneurs are making Chinese companies produce sub-standard goods and that the Chinese companies do so because they want the business. They say that during an official visit by a Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) delegation to strengthen bilateral relationships he said "It is a real problem for a product that is say 10 dollars (about N1500) of standard quality, some of the [Nigerian] entrepreneurs went to China, and asked the host to make it thinner and cheaper. At the very beginning, some of the [Chinese] companies were very reluctant to produce for them. But later, you know they are entrepreneurs, they want to make money. These host factories don't want to make for them, to produce for them. Finally they [Nigerian entrepreneurs] went to many factories, at least they can find one or two factories to make for them sub-standard goods and they bring it back," to Nigeria.

This raises the age old question of who is responsible for sub-standard products, is it the illegitimate manufacturer, the importer or both? You can read the original article here.

Chinese Consul-General reportedly blames Nigerian businessmen for fakes

allAfrica.com is reporting that the Chinese Consul-General in Lagos, Mr. Guo Kun, said Nigerian entrepreneurs are making Chinese companies produce sub-standard goods and that the Chinese companies do so because they want the business. They say that during an official visit by a Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) delegation to strengthen bilateral relationships he said "It is a real problem for a product that is say 10 dollars (about N1500) of standard quality, some of the [Nigerian] entrepreneurs went to China, and asked the host to make it thinner and cheaper. At the very beginning, some of the [Chinese] companies were very reluctant to produce for them. But later, you know they are entrepreneurs, they want to make money. These host factories don't want to make for them, to produce for them. Finally they [Nigerian entrepreneurs] went to many factories, at least they can find one or two factories to make for them sub-standard goods and they bring it back," to Nigeria.

This raises the age old question of who is responsible for sub-standard products, is it the illegitimate manufacturer, the importer or both? You can read the original article here.

The Brazilian Serialization Initiative

Brazil, home of 191M people and the largest drug market in South America (estimated at $17B in 2008), has just implemented a three-year plan to track all of its medicinal prescription products, both human and veterinary, using a 2D datamatrix barcode. The goal is to put in place a thorough method through which all pharmaceutical products can be traced from producer to end-user using safety codes located on the packaging. These so-called Medicine Single Identifier labels will contain unique barcodes that link the medicine to its registration number, lot number, production date, etc. in an official database. Medicine manufacturing companies will be responsible for ensuring that all of their products contain these safety labels, which companies can buy either blank or with codes already printed on them. The national regulatory agency - ANVISA - will supply all pharmacies with scanners in order to verify the authenticity of products at or before the time of purchase. Several of the issues raised by these new rules include questions about the regulation of international medicines: can pharma products produced outside the country use the codes provided by Brazilian national authorities? If so, and assuming that ANVISA will require all serialization codes to be applied within the country/upon product entry into the Brazilian drug market, it seems that international medicines will be significantly less secure despite their secure assurance label. We reckon consumers might also wonder about the system's transparency - if pharmacists are now selling fakes and they will also be doing the checking using special scanners, consumers seem to be left out in the dark in this new process and it may not be as effective as a solution that puts the power of authentication in the hands of the consumer.

Questions have also been raised about whether the national database will be government- or commercially-maintained. Interestingly, Sproxil avoids uncertainty on all of these concerns:

  1. we sell scratch-off codes to pharmaceutical manufacturing companies whose products appear in Nigerian markets, regardless of their production location
  2. we put the power of authentication in the hands of the consumer
  3. we keep a private, encrypted information database in a redundant cloud

In any case, it would seem that even though Brazil is on its way to decreasing the 25% market share that counterfeits currently hold, the country has a bit further to go before its 1 January 2012 timetable deadline. Other countries, such as the USA, have tried to set deadlines on serialization projects to spur industry adoption, but that approach doesn't seem to be effective. We hope to see much more industry collaboration with the authorities in Brazil to make the project successful.

The Brazilian Serialization Initiative

Brazil, home of 191M people and the largest drug market in South America (estimated at $17B in 2008), has just implemented a three-year plan to track all of its medicinal prescription products, both human and veterinary, using a 2D datamatrix barcode. The goal is to put in place a thorough method through which all pharmaceutical products can be traced from producer to end-user using safety codes located on the packaging. These so-called Medicine Single Identifier labels will contain unique barcodes that link the medicine to its registration number, lot number, production date, etc. in an official database. Medicine manufacturing companies will be responsible for ensuring that all of their products contain these safety labels, which companies can buy either blank or with codes already printed on them. The national regulatory agency - ANVISA - will supply all pharmacies with scanners in order to verify the authenticity of products at or before the time of purchase. Several of the issues raised by these new rules include questions about the regulation of international medicines: can pharma products produced outside the country use the codes provided by Brazilian national authorities? If so, and assuming that ANVISA will require all serialization codes to be applied within the country/upon product entry into the Brazilian drug market, it seems that international medicines will be significantly less secure despite their secure assurance label. We reckon consumers might also wonder about the system's transparency - if pharmacists are now selling fakes and they will also be doing the checking using special scanners, consumers seem to be left out in the dark in this new process and it may not be as effective as a solution that puts the power of authentication in the hands of the consumer.

Questions have also been raised about whether the national database will be government- or commercially-maintained. Interestingly, Sproxil avoids uncertainty on all of these concerns:

  1. we sell scratch-off codes to pharmaceutical manufacturing companies whose products appear in Nigerian markets, regardless of their production location
  2. we put the power of authentication in the hands of the consumer
  3. we keep a private, encrypted information database in a redundant cloud

In any case, it would seem that even though Brazil is on its way to decreasing the 25% market share that counterfeits currently hold, the country has a bit further to go before its 1 January 2012 timetable deadline. Other countries, such as the USA, have tried to set deadlines on serialization projects to spur industry adoption, but that approach doesn't seem to be effective. We hope to see much more industry collaboration with the authorities in Brazil to make the project successful.