Drug Expert Talks Pharmaceutical Counterfeiting and Importance of Serialization

Carded blister packaging

The pharmaceutical industry is one of the biggest in the world. In the U.S. alone, pharmacy and drug store sales generated about $231.46 billion in 2011. One of the industry’s big plaeyrs is Mark Davison. He is the Principal Consultant and CEO at Blue Sphere Health and author of the book Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting.

Needless to say, he’s an expert on things like pharmaceutical supply chain, pharmaceutical serialization solutions, and specifically anti-counterfeiting. He recently gave a presentation at Systech’s Uniquity 2015 Conference, entitled “When Bad Things Happen: Anti-counterfeiting,” which covered various different aspects of the industry, according to the pharmaceutical news source PharmPro.com.

PharmPro.com then talked to Davison about is presentation. Here are some excepts from that conversation and why he believes pharmaceutical serialization solutions.

One of the biggest problems he sees is the fact that drug counterfeiters don’t have to exactly replicate the formula of a legitimate company. Ultimately, they don’t need to convince manufacturers or other experts on the validity, merely consumers without in-depth knowledge. Considering about 75% of medical visits involve some kind of drug therapy, there’s a lot of potential targets. As long as it looks ‘about right’ most people won’t even question it.

Davison believes in three elements when it comes to security and anti-counterfeiting: physical, digital, and process. Physical can be like adding invisible features on things like the pharmaceutical blister packaging to make fakes easy to spot. Digital involves track and trace pharmaceutical serialization solutions. Process is more at the point-of-sale and protecting against insider fraud.

“The evidence for counterfeiting of specific brands is often patchy or non-existent until a quality or safety incident occurs,” Davison said. “This can sometimes lead to managers deciding to wait until they have an issue before responding.”

Doctors and pharmacies ordered or provided about 2.6 billion prescription drugs during or after visits with physicians in 2010. Those numbers continue to climb and as they do the potential for counterfeiting and other security risks will only rise too.

Leave a Reply