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While track-and-trace initiatives stumble along, more technology firms provide authentication solutions
Ever since the California e-pedigree initiative got pushed out to 2015 (Pharmaceutical Commerce, Sept., p. 8), biopharma has been very selective about how it approaches track-and-trace supply-chain security. However, the pressure to do something to protect brand security has not let up; if anything, counterfeiting is becoming a worsening problem.
Thus, the entrance of at least four (and more in the wings) new technology offerings is a refreshing vote of confidence that biopharma will act to protect its products. One, unveiled at the Interphex Show (New York; March 16-18) is from Pharmorx Security (Southborough, MA), bringing a variety of authentication or coding systems (high-resolution surface imaging, security inks, serialized barcode and others) together with a software service, AuthentiTrack, to collect and verify identification data throughout the supply chain. Pharmorx Security started up in 2006 to track controlled-substance distribution. Significantly, its authentication processes work for on-dosage units, through pill bottles, primary and secondary packaging.
Another introduction brings a company which has been developing authentication systems for years, Verify Brand (Minneapolis), together with a solutions provider, On+qor (Bridgeville, PA). On+qor is a division of All-Pak, Inc. which provides rigid packaging for parenterals and other healthcare products. On+qor will implement Verify Brand’s Digital Authentication, Track & Trace (DATT) system at packaging lines, as well as set up the data center to integrate Verify Brand’s serialization processes with a warehouse management system or enterprise software system. Verify Brand is developing its technology in line with GS1 tracking standards, notes Kevin Erdman, company president.
The third offering promises to integrate anti-counterfeiting with no incremental production costs. Alpvision (Vevey, Switzerland) has developed a method to customize the surfaces of punch dies used in tableting machines. The resulting tablet surface can be imaged by devices as simple as an office scanner, then compared to reference images to confirm authenticity. Alpvision calls this the Fingerprint solution.
And the fourth comes from Oystar Manesty, whose US business unit in Fairfield, NJ, is showing a tablet press that features an external lubrication system originally designed to drastically reduce the volume of lubricant (typically, magnesium stearate) used to allow tablets to be released from the punch die after being formed. This lubrication system, called Accuspray, can be tailored to apply a taggant on a specific location in the die, such that the taggant is positioned on the surface of tablet for easy in-field verification. At least two pharma companies are planning trials with the on-dosage taggant application, says Nicholas Michel, VP.