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Countering the counterfeiting challenge

Already, the Food and Drug Administration anticipates an increase in the sale of counterfeit or fraudulent treatments should the Avian bird flu emerge as a public health threat in the United States. That's understandable considering the growing global problem of counterfeit drugs. Earlier this year, the FDA announced "tremendous progress toward the development and implementation of a standard track-and-trace system, using RFID for widespread use in the drug distribution chain. Significant advancements are also being made in developing an electronic pedigree (chain of custody) for drug products. In addition, drug manufacturers are increasing their use of anti-counterfeiting technologies, such as holograms, color-shifting inks, and covert markings on drug products and packaging."

Nancy St. Laurent, senior engineer of sterile facilities and packaging systems at Lockwood Greene, says, "RFID and other identification methods to prevent counterfeiting will affect packaging materials and equipment to handle RFID labeling. There are other methods that can be used, too, [such as] multi-layering of different methods for packaging materials."

--By Jim Butschli, Editor
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