Anti-counterfeiting tops agenda at Americas Technology Summit

The task of securing the supply chain and the need to adopt a layered approach using overt and covert security features often seems overwhelming; companies don't know where to start or what technologies to invest in. That was a key message taken from anti-counterfeiting sessions at the 2008 Americas Technology Summit, an event focusing on brand protection and sustainability held in San Juan, Puerto Rico April 16-17. Americas Technology Summit was sponsored by National Label Co. and MWV .

Several presenters advised attendees to start with a security development team and seek out organizations, such as the Brand Protection Alliance, and the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy .

One attendee, who did not wish to be identified, came to the conference looking for anti-counterfeiting solutions. "This is all after [a crime has been committed]," he said of the various brand-protection presentations. Industry needs solutions to help deter criminals: "If we could prevent counterfeiting in the first place, we wouldn't need any of this." He felt that anything can be duplicated, and the only way to prevent counterfeiting is to secure the supply chain. To do so, manufacturers need to sell directly to pharmacies, he said.

Others were concerned about meeting e-pedigree requirements in California and whether to use 2D bar codes or RFID. One attendee from GPSG (Global Pharmaceutical Supply Group) is implementing an e-pedigree serialization project for California that affects 250 products. "I was considering 2D because it's cheaper," an attendee said. But after hearing a presentation titled "RFID/e-pedigree Update," he said he's considering RFID. According to the speaker, 2D has "lost its luster" because product codes don't line up perfectly and will have to be realigned by hand to be scanned. With RFID, there's no need to orientate scanned items. "You have to consider the labor cost of opening all the boxes [to reorient packages for scanning]," noted the attendee.

Although the deadline for meeting California's e-pedigree law has been pushed back to 2011, the consensus was "if you haven't started working on it, you're too late." In fact, as one speaker stated, "If you start on Monday [April 21], as soon as you get back from this conference, you'll already be two weeks behind." [HCP]

--By Kassandra Kania, Contributing Editor
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