Counterfeiting is a challenge faced by almost all industries – in Pharmaceuticals however, it is a more daunting one considering the enormous risk to lives it portends. What makes this more critical is the quick technological advancements by counterfeiters, it is therefore imperative that the entire pharma supply chain develops a more up-to-date and robust response to this menace.

The current size of the global pharmaceutical black market is estimated to be $200 billion, making up about 2.5% of the entire industry, and what makes this even more alarming is the 20% annual growth rate of the counterfeiting market. Even though industry players have been implementing measures to fight back against the counterfeiting criminal rings, there is still much left to be done before the pharma supply chain can be regarded as “secure.”

Being Deliberate about Branding and Authentication

The importance of ‘Brand Value’ and ‘Product Protection’ in the pharmaceuticals industry cannot be over emphasised. Today’s pharmaceutical companies must aim at a three-fold anti-counterfeiting approach as a way to distinguish their brands, i.e., protection of the public, the pharma products and ultimately the brand itself.

There are currently a number of methods being used to identify counterfeit medicine, such as physical chemical identifiers – this allows patients or consumer to verify a drug’s authenticity through the use of variables like size, colour and shape. Track-and-Trace, Serialisation and Aggregation are some other methods being employed to fight counterfeiting in the pharmaceutical industry; and even though these work to a certain degree, they are not full-proof. Many industry observers have said that there is the need to have these measures go hand-in-hand with product protection at all levels of the supply chain in order to achieve a higher degree of counterfeit protection.

The protection of medicine, brand protection or authentication, and product verification are all intricately linked. In a world where fake medicines are being pushed to market easily, the inability of patients to verify medicines can be highly detrimental to their health and even lead to death. Not instituting verification measures can lead to the corruption of entire supply chains, leading to irreparable damages like the loss of lives – this creates a situation where a pharmaceutical manufacturer’s brand image is tarnished beyond repair.

Counterfeiting Compliance in the Pharma Industry

The general operations procedure of the pharmaceuticals industry currently has four main weak points, and these are;

  • Transfer from manufacturer to distribution partner(s)
  • The distribution centre itself
  • Packing/Shipping process
  • Transportation to final selling point

Just one weak link in any of the above mentioned can easily let counterfeiters into the supply chain, thus the need to apply full-proof anti-counterfeit solutions. Such solutions must give real-time information, provide an easily understandable interface for prompt communication and also make end-to-end traceability available for stakeholders – these are solutions that Cypheme provides the pharma industry.

The Cypheme artificial intelligence solution goes beyond its unique fingerprint stickers – added features include GPS tracing of products’ scanning activities, including even those that happen at the counterfeit manufacturing points or locations, and this provides enough data that can lead to the arrests of these criminal minds.

The Cypheme solution is also easy to implement and does not require the purchasing of new tracking equipment, or the installation of new software or computer applications. What happens is that the Cypheme AI solution is simply integrated with your existing systems, and then it automatically adapts with your operational processes – the only thing that changes is that you are now equipped with a full-proof anti-counterfeit cover.

Cyphmeme Infographic
Cyphmeme supply chain Infographic

What Cypheme does with its anti-counterfeit solution is tantamount to empowering everyone in the supply chain (from the manufacturer right down to the patient or consumer) to be able to verify the authenticity of medicines by simply using the camera of their smartphones, and this does not require any special app to work – it can therefore be inadvertently regarded as a form of crowd sourcing anti-counterfeit mechanism.

The ultimate feature of the Cypheme solution is the fact that it is full-proof, meaning that the loopholes within the supply chain of pharmaceutical companies are eradicated.

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