Tamper Evident Packaging

Secure by design: Exploring anti-counterfeiting measures in pharmaceutical packaging

3 mins

In the pharmaceutical industry, ensuring the safety and authenticity of medications is second to none. Counterfeit drugs pose a significant threat to public health, leading to ineffective treatments, adverse reactions, and even fatalities.

To combat this growing concern, the pharmaceutical sector is increasingly adopting innovative and secure packaging solutions. In this blog, we delve into the world of anti-counterfeiting measures in pharmaceutical packaging, highlighting the importance of security through packaging design.

The importance of anti-counterfeiting measures

Counterfeiting in the pharmaceutical industry is a global issue and affects both developed and developing nations. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 10% of drugs available worldwide are counterfeit, causing considerable harm to patients and costing the industry billions of pounds annually.

5 key anti-counterfeiting solutions

Innovative solutions have become the bedrock of the industry's commitment to consumer safety. These technologies not only fortify the defences against counterfeiting but also establish a new standard for transparency and traceability within the pharmaceutical supply chain.

1. Tamper-evident packaging

Tamper-evident packaging is a way of providing visible evidence that products have been accessed by unauthorised personnel. This is done by using seals, markings, specifically designed cartons, and other techniques.

Using tamper-evident tapes to seal boxes, mailing bags, and other types of packaging is a great way to help deter people from opening a package during the delivery process.

As well, simple but cleverly designed cartons can be made to fold into boxes that provide physical evidence of tampering. It’s impossible to get into them without damaging the packaging, leaving clear evidence of the attempt.

2. QR codes and barcodes

Integrating Quick Response (QR) codes and barcodes on pharmaceutical packaging is a common practice. These codes allow consumers and authorities to verify the authenticity of a product by scanning the code with a smartphone.

On top of this, they enable supply chain stakeholders to track the movement of drugs from manufacturing to distribution, reducing the risk of counterfeit products entering the market.

3. RFID technology

Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. In pharmaceuticals, RFID tags are employed for real-time tracking of products throughout the supply chain, offering enhanced traceability and security.

This means that in the event of a product recall or suspected counterfeit incident, stakeholders can swiftly pinpoint affected batches for targeted and efficient responses. Such precision not only

safeguards public health but also minimises financial losses for pharmaceutical companies by focusing interventions on the specific areas of concern.

4. Smart packaging

The integration of smart packaging technologies involves incorporating sensors, indicators, or microchips into the packaging. These elements can monitor a range of product parameters such as temperature, humidity, and light exposure, providing real-time data to ensure the product's integrity.

Any huge fluctuations or suspicious activity in the data can help pinpoint tampering, allowing businesses to react accordingly.

5. Invisible inks and watermarks

Invisible ink and watermarks act as hidden security features that can be incorporated into pharmaceutical packaging solutions. These elements are detectable using special tools, allowing authorities to verify the authenticity of the product. This adds an extra layer of security against counterfeiters.

Pharmaceutical packaging solutions from the experts

At Swiftpak, we specialise in supplying safe and secure pharmaceutical packaging solutions. With over 45 years’ experience, we have the knowledge and experience needed to recommend the very best solution for your product and business needs. Why not get in touch with our expert team today and find out how your packaging could be revolutionised.