Barring the way of fake drugs

Feb 11 2013, 10:17 IST
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SummaryIndia is the third-largest drug producer globally by volume and 14th by value, with an estimated 5,000 production lines.

(DGFT) regulation,” says Deb Pattnaik, founder and chief executive of Goose. The solution creates, manages and tracks unique serial numbers printed on the tertiary, primary and secondary packages.

“Goose Tracker integrates with existing applications to securely meet data management and printing needs for packaging and shipping labels. We are working with several governments and non-government entities to include changes as and when they are announced,” Pattnaik adds. The company is engaged in discussions with quite a few pharmaceuticals manufacturing organisations in the country who are in the process of complying with the barcoding requirements for secondary packages, which came into effect on January 1, 2013, and subsequently primary packaging serialisation which will become mandatory for exports this year.

Globally, governments and drug companies are implementing various methods to tackle the problem of spurious drugs. From July 2010, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has been using a mobile authentication service and an RFID system.

Similarly, US-based PharmaSecure has demonstrated that its platform can cover the last mile of the pharmaceuticals industry by engaging consumers in a low cost, two-way communication about their drug utilisation and related behaviours. PharmaSecure has developed an ‘SMS/Mobile solution for drug authentication’, by which a randomly generated, unique nine-digit alpha-numeric code is printed on a medicine pack along with an SMS number—9901099010. If the drug purchaser sends the unique code to the number, he will get a confirmation within 10 seconds of whether the drug is genuine or not.

With the growing ubiquity of mobile phones in India, this can have a tremendous impact in the country. According to Nakul Pasricha, vice-president, operations, at PharmaSecure, “the recent announcement from the government has sped up the process of implementation which was already underway with some of our clients, and validated the decision of some other clients to ensure installation, implementation and commissioning of the solution by December 31.” PharmaSecure has tied up with the top-10 pharmaceutical companies in India, according to Kishore Kar, vice president, sales and marketing, PharmaSecure. Due to confidentiality reasons, he couldn’t reveal the names of these companies, though.

Since launching its India operations in 2009, PharmaSecure has printed over 250 million pharmaceutical packages with unique ID codes that allow consumer authentication by SMS, and now by using their free app. Using the new app, consumers can either enter the code on imprinted pharmaceutical packages or simply scan a bar code on the packages.

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