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AN INDUSTRY THAT’S EXPLODING THE WORLD HEALTH Organization (WHO) estimates one million people die every year from counterfeit drugs. This is attributed to the 15 percent circulation of counterfeit medicines. In some areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America counterfeit drugs may account for up to 30 percent of medicines in circulation. WHO counterfeit medications as falsely labelled regarding their identity and/or origin to deliberately fool consumers. Examples of counterfeited drugs are those that: • c ontain the correct active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), either at a dosage too high or too low • h ave manipulated expiration dates • p ossess no APIs • c ontain an API other than which is specified • a re wrapped in forged packaging, blisters and/or contain falsified patient information. According to Future Market Insights, by 2026 the anti-counterfeit pharmaceutical market is estimated to expand at a CAGR of 11.5 percent in the Middle East and Africa, owing to economic growth in the region.

by a camera vision system. Thereafter,

provide higher protection because they are


two tamper-evident self-adhesive labels

difficult to replicate.

Pyrotec PackVerifi incorporates

are applied on the right and left closure

San Francisco-based Micro-Tracers

technologies and security features

section of each carton. Servomotors drive

supply SECURtracers for the pharma and

onto labels to deter counterfeiting. The

the label dispensing units, so the speed of

nutraceutical industries. These tracers can

company says there are five red flags to

the unit is automatically synchronised with

be used both on packaging and labels

look out for to determine whether a label

the cartoner.

of pharma products. It can also be used

is counterfeit.

as edible taggants for solid oral dosage

1. S  ub-standard labels: Reputable

Marchesini recently partnered with Seavision by acquiring 48 percent shares

drugs. These taggants are unique micro-

companies typically take care with

in the company. Seavision supplies

sized particles added onto packaging

their labelling and packaging. If the

track and trace solutions and cosmetic

and labels or within the proprietary solid

quality of the printing on the label is

packaging code inspection technologies,

dosage drugs. They serve as a means of

second-rate it might be a fake. Faded

amongst others.

differentiating fake products from original

The local representative for Seavision is Automation Techniques.

ones. The taggants are made of food and

colours are another giveaway. 2. B  ad spelling and grammar: These

pharma grade materials and comply with

errors are common on packaging and

FDA guidelines for use in pills, powders and

labels of imitation goods. If you spot a


coatings. They can be used on primary

Overt features applied to packaging can

and secondary packaging, which come

be seen with the naked eye. Although they

into direct contact with the product. The

invent names for their products

are lower security features, they can be

particles can be customised to 50 to

that closely resemble the product

authenticated easily without any expensive

200 microns in a number of dimensions.

consumers know and trust. When

Although most covert technologies

in doubt, enter the names into a

technology or training. A combination of overt and covert technologies gives added

require sophisticated and expensive

security. Covert features require advanced

readers to test the authenticity of a

product authentication technology and

product, SECURtracers are easily identified.

howler then the alarm bells should ring. 3. M  ade-up names: Some scammers

search engine to find out which drugs are legitimate. 4. C  ontact details: Is the correct

The tracers are identified within 10 seconds

contact information on the label?

as gold fluorescent specks using a UV

Are there any contact details at all?

flashlight. The product is not authentic

It is a requirement to include contact

if no fluorescence is detected. Using a

information on labels or packaging.

simple magnetic separation apparatus

5. D  oes the label match the product:

SECURtracers can be simply isolated for

If you are suspicious a product is

viewing the microengraved lettering under

counterfeit, have a look at the model

a small handheld 120X power microscope.

or reference numbers on the label or

If the correct lettering is present, the product is deemed authentic.

packaging. These must correspond with the product. •

Specialised semiconductor equipment and a variety of technical skills are used to manufacture SECURtracers. The company has no region-specific suppliers for these tracers. They are supplied globally from Micro-Tracers’ premises in San Francisco.

MGSA Consulting – www.mgsaconsulting.co.za Micro-Tracers – www. microtracers.com Pyrotec PackVerifi – www.packmedia.co.za

Packaging Review | JUNE 2018 |


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