The pharmaceutical industry has been one of the most profitable targets for counterfeiters for years; In recent times however, the activities of counterfeiters within the sector have increased by several hundred folds. According to a report from The World Economic Forum published in February 2015, counterfeit drugs have been identified as one of the biggest risks facing the world today.
The World Health Organization estimates that between 10 and 30 percent of all medicines circulating today are fake. These fake drugs include everything from cancer medication to birth control pills, and these can be dangerous when consumed by patients seeking cheap alternatives for already expensive medical treatments. Millions of people around the world patients lack the means to access original medications due to their high price points and sometimes due to supply shortages, as such, their only option sometimes appear to be cheaper black market products with unknown ingredients. For example, in Nigeria, counterfeit malaria tablets containing only sugar led to more than 50 deaths in 2006.
Technology to Prevent Counterfeiting in the Health Industry
The pharmaceutical industry appears to be heeding the cry to make use of technology in the anti-counterfeit fight, but there is still more work left to be done. Advanced anti-counterfeit technologies are able to scan documents and images, identify signs of potential counterfeiting, and flag them for review by a human analyst.
Machine Learning (ML) algorithms can be trained to detect anomalies such as size changes on labels or tampered seals—the ML model would flag these instances because they differ from what it has already learned about the typical manufacturing process. These features and more are being inculcated into some select anti-counterfeit solutions today.
Pharma-focused anti-counterfeit technologies are also beginning to possess real-time tracking systems which are invaluable for helping healthcare manufacturers understand where their products are being moved throughout the supply chain, while also helping to track down diversions and fake drugs that may have slipped through the cracks. With all these advancements in anti-counterfeit tech, it is important for pharma companies to begin actively implementing tech-based solutions that can match the current speed of counterfeiters.
The Dark Side of the Health Industry
The health industry is under attack by criminals who create fake health products in order to make money off unsuspecting patients, and fake medications do damages by letting patients ingest ineffective or harmful compounds which can lead to heath complications and even death.
Another concern is the high cost of some medications, and these gets some patients turning to black markets for cheaper alternatives, and these are more often than not sub-standard imitations.
At the moment, there are companies whose anti-counterfeit solutions are AI-powered, and their algorithms can be trained to detect markers that are unique to certain types of drugs or packaging materials as well as size changes as are common with counterfeit drug packages which would not necessarily show up as anything suspicious to a human but would for AI tech.
Anti-counterfeit Technology is a Potential Cost-saver
The use of anti-counterfeit technology is a proven cost-saver as it helps healthcare companies with more efficient identification of fake drugs, thus helping them weed out fakes easily and faster and plugging avenues of potential revenue loss. Beyond detecting fakes, anti-counterfeit technologies have real-time tracking systems that can help pharmaceutical detect product diversions easily.
The role of AI in Anti-counterfeit Technology
Anti-counterfeit technologies have made significant improvements over the years, getting better with its accuracy and efficiency. The introduction of artificial intelligence to the space has been a game-changer. AI has an advantage over human workers because AI can identify markers that are unique to certain types of drugs or packaging materials as well as size changes commonly seen on counterfeit drug packages.
Moving forward, AI technology will help companies combat counterfeiting by scanning records quickly and more accurately, training itself to recognize different types of markers, and creating alerts when misnomers are detected.
Despite the success es recorded with AI anti-counterfeit technology so far, players in the space consistently work to improve on it. Advancements in counterfeit detection technology for medications have recently stemmed from improvements in AI proven useful elsewhere; these have allowed for the machine learning models to learn more about different types of markers used to determine whether or not a medication is real or fake.
How Cypheme’s Anti-counterfeit Technology serves the Health Industry
Cypheme’s AI-based anti-counterfeit technology is backed by a powerful artificial neural network. The anti-counterfeit technology solution employs immutable fingerprint labels, thus equipping health brands with these labels to put in their packaging and protect against sub-standard imitations.
Cypheme’s anti-copy labels and AI anti-counterfeit technology has helped health brands save about 75,000 lives to date. The anti-copy labels called Noise Print are fast becoming a global symbol of authenticity which patients have now become comfortable with since it helps them check the authenticity of the drug even before purchase. Customers are able to scan the labels with their smartphones to tell whether the drug they are buying is genuine or not.
In addition, the labels help health and pharma companies locate areas where counterfeiting of their products is happening; Cypheme’s anti-counterfeit algorithm can geo-fence such areas and help authorities find the perpetrators easily.