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      Deploying a Comprehensive Pharmaceutical Brand, Product and Customer Protection Program

      An application study 

      Rob Wilson, Head of Account Management, Authentication

      De La Rue has over 30 years of experience helping brands to protect their revenues and reputations. This includes tamper-evident security labels to some of the largest pharmaceutical brand owners in the world. Hundreds of millions of our labels have protected prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and corporate reputations over a timespan of more than two decades.

      Our proposition reinforces physical security technologies with modular digital traceability solutions that can be tailored to suit individual programs or comply with regional regulatory frameworks. These systems make real-time data available to Product and Brand Protection teams, enabling targeted enforcement action to be taken whilst saving countless hours of field research and analysis.

       

      Fake Pharmaceuticals

      The World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 10 medical products in low- and middle-income countries are substandard or falsified, with no countries untouched from counterfeit pharmaceutical goods.1 Multiple factors have led to unsafe pharmaceuticals becoming more widely available, including globalization, a shortage of genuine products and criminals having access to new channels to market. These counterfeit drugs may contain undeclared ingredients that directly harm the lives of patients or fail to treat the underlying medical condition they were intended for.

      A minority of countries enforce existing legislations around full serialization of pharmaceutical products, but many more are in the process of implementing mandatory serialization and traceability systems, such as the Drug Supply Chain Security Act in the United States.

       

      The Challenge

      Too many companies only implement anti-counterfeiting solutions when required to by law, and then often defaulting to only minimally compliant solutions. Yet the scale of the counterfeit drugs problem is huge, with the OECD and the EU’s Intellectual Property Office estimating that 96% of websites offering pharmaceuticals are operating illegally.2 Online ordering and postal services enable easy distribution directly to people at home and the pandemic has led to significant growth in counterfeit drugs.

      Clinics, healthcare workers and consumers need a way to validate, with certainty, that their goods are genuine. So the solution needs careful consideration. Serialisation offers track and trace potential but not authentication. Overt anti-counterfeiting features are often eventually simulated and genuine labels risk being harvested from real packaging to legitimize counterfeit medications.

       

      The First Line of Defense - Physical Authentication

      The first indication that something is wrong is how the product or packaging looks. A physical authentication device offers the first line of defense here. Security labels with bright, intuitive, simulation-resistant effects and brand-aligned aesthetics inspire confidence and encourage interaction by the user to examine the label, packaging and product more carefully.

      De La Rue’s brand protection labels build on our expertise in precision micro-structure engineering, leveraging the highest levels of security which are more commonly reserved for banknotes and ID documents. Our proprietary technologies require advanced, specialist scientific knowledge and this IP is not available on the commercial market, nor can they be effectively simulated using commercially available equipment. This is why our solutions have protected pharmaceutical products for decades, resisting successful simulation attempts to which lesser technical solutions are vulnerable.

      For the pharmaceutical industry we offer two very different but equally secure technologies. IZON® has a distinctive look and creates a strong perception of a real-life, three-dimensional object inside the label. PURE™ has a more traditional holographic aesthetic but comprises precision-engineered micro-structures that create unique, versatile, striking and dynamic effects in ultra-high resolution. These technologies can be incorporated into a range of tamper-evidence labels, providing brand owners with a range of aesthetic and authentication options which are clearly differentiated from the more novelty or decorative offerings that are commercially available and which are easily described to consumers.

      These technologies are particularly well suited for the pharmaceutical industry; When deployed in translucent or semi-transparent label constructions, they protect product packaging from tamper without obscuring graphics or any regulatory compliance content.

       

      Building a Holistic Solution

      Highly secure anti-counterfeit and tamper-evidence technologies are only part of the equation. The solution needs to empower brand owners with the disposition data and reporting tools to manage their channels effectively. When underpinned by De La Rue’s modular and scalable Traceology® software suite, brand owners have access to a comprehensive brand and consumer protection programme that starts tracking De La Rue’s labels at the point of production, tracking them as they are received and applied to specific products which may then be aggregated into batches and followed throughout the supply chain, monitored against their expected, end market destination.

      De La Rue also understands that deployment of any comprehensive brand protection programme must include support for the brand’s supply chain partners - the Contract Manufacturer community and distribution ecosystem. De La Rue has long-established working relationships with CMs around the globe and we routinely support these pack-out sites directly with testing and trialing, recommendations around manual and automated label dispensing and application equipment, optimization of processes, inputs to packaging design and data collection & analysis.

       

      Summary

      With 20+ years of experience protecting the Pharma’ brand space and millions of labels deployed around the globe, We are ideally placed to support. Please email authentication@delarue.com for further information and to discuss a solution perfectly tailored to your needs.

       

      References:

      1. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/substandard-and-falsified-medical-products
      2. Covid-19 crisis underscores need to address trade in fake pharmaceuticals, say OECD & EUIPO - OECD