It’s a huge shame, but for every advancement and achievement aimed to help those in need, there’s a criminal somewhere in the world plotting the best way to use that advancement to profit at the expense of others.

Pharmaceutical drugs are certainly not an exception to that rule. Since a large portion of people in developed and developing countries can’t afford genuine medication, they turn to the black market. But this market is notoriously riddled with counterfeit medications that place the patients at major risk. The World Health Organization estimates that up to 10 percent of the world’s pharmaceutical products could be counterfeit.

Counterfeit Drugs are Expanding

Counterfeit drug makers are learning sophisticated technological methods to manufacture cartoning equipment and package products, but no global standardized anti-counterfeit identification criteria exists. Resistance efforts have always relied on sophisticated packaging that counterfeiters can’t replicate, but it’s been proven that these criminals are not willing to be beaten.

Severe, Undeniable Danger

One notorious counterfeit case in Africa in 1999 involved a batch of cough medicine made with anti-freeze instead of glycerine. The batch killed hundreds of unsuspecting people just trying their best to seek medical support in any way they could.

The Vital Role of Packaging in the Coming Years

To fight this dangerous counterfeit medication, explicit anti-counterfeiting packaging strategies must be employed. Holographic devices and color-shifting ink, for example, can make it easy to validate packaging in an efficient manner. Holograms in particular are impossible to replicate with traditional printing and can be made so complex with hidden images and nano-text that counterfeiters don’t stand a chance.

Covert, or hidden, technologies are also a vital security measure. Infrared and ultraviolet detection, micro-text, and microscopic tagging are all technologies to support forensic solutions. Some big name pharmaceutical companies are even exploring the use of radio frequency identification devices.

By combing these covert and overt technologies, a higher level of security can prevent counterfeiting and save many lives.


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