Anti-Counterfeit Packaging – A Primer
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]While there are many types of security features used in product packaging, the ‘big three’ categories are usually defined as Overt, Covert and Forensic.
Overt – This type of security contains a visible feature, enabling packaging to be validated quickly and easily through visual inspection. They are best used where the general public is a part of your policing in the field. These features are usually more readily available and therefore less secure, and include holograms, color shift inks, security fibers, floating images/ patterns, etc.
Covert – This type of security feature is typically placed in such a way as to be invisible to the naked eye. The feature is revealed with certain tools or calibrated readers that cause special inks or graphics to react. Special effect inks, with Ultraviolet (UV) and Infrared (IR) phosphors dispersed, are popular methods used in currency and secure documents, but also include watermarks, time and temperature-sensitive inks, chemically reactive inks, etc.
Forensic – Forensic refers to scientific method of collecting and analyzing information. These types of security features generally require a sample to be taken to a laboratory for a full analysis. Although highly secure, there are often thought to be very expensive to integrate (though this is not the case with the DNA Matrix™ security mark). Other examples include chemical or ionic taggants, nano particles, etc.
Packaging is the technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, sale and end-use. In the case of pharmaceuticals, packaging conveys valuable information and now, pedigree of the product. High prices make the pharma market most vulnerable to counterfeiting and product piracy, because the product manufacturing is a high-volume, and high-profit business. Pharmaceutical companies typically invest heavily in R&D to develop new products, but the production of counterfeit drugs need not require large infrastructure or facilities.
The most commonly counterfeited drug in the world is a ‘lifestyle drug’ called Viagra, but in developing countries, the most counterfeited medicines are those used to treat life-threatening conditions such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. As one would expect, trade in these medicines is more prevalent in countries with weak drug regulation, fragmented supply chains and controls, scarcity or erratic supplies and unaffordable prices.
In the US, the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA) and the subsequent Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCQA) have added Track and Trace functionality to the pharmaceutical packaging process, in the form of 2D matrix barcodes, to ensure that unique product identifiers are placed on each and every drug package. This form of security packaging provides advantages to manufacturers that are already placing batch/ date codes on their products, in that they can embed security features, such as the DNA Matrix™, into the same codes, at the same time and at very little cost.
With increasing sophistication, counterfeiters continue to advance and profit at the cost of public safety and company revenues. But, by implementing new packaging security measures, affordable and reliable brand protection is now closer than you think.
Mike Hayes is the Managing Director of DNA Technologies. He has been helping customers to combat counterfeiting in print applications for over 10 years.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Want to learn more about packaging security and anti-counterfeiting measures? Drop us a line![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]