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Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News, November/December 2015

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pmpnews.com • Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News November/December 2015 26 Coding & Marking Companies Should Invest in Brand Protection, Avoid Counterfeiting Risks A former FBI special agent now working in Kodak's Brand Protection Solutions Division examines end-to-end anti-counterfeiting and authentication solutions. by Matt Sanderson, Associate Editor T he cat-and-mouse game for pharmaceutical brands to stay a step ahead of crimi- nals counterfeiting their drugs is an evolving, ongoing pro- cess. Every pharma brand is a unique entity, and each one needs to have a robust brand protection program, according to a former FBI special agent who now works in pharmaceuti- cal brand protection services. Keith Cutri, director of business development at Kodak Brand Pro- tection Solutions, works as a global security and investigations consultant and says even a little bit of attention toward end-to-end brand protection is better than inaction. He ofers up an approach outlined by Kodak. In global commerce, he says that typically 5 to 7 percent of pharma products sold are affected by coun- terfeiting, which amounts to approxi- mately $1.5 to $1.7 trillion. The 5 to 7 percent figure could be much larger depending on certain brands' demo- graphics, geographies of sales, and the type of drug, he adds. (Cutri says United States counterfeiting incidents are "very low" at less than 1 percent.) Part of Cutri's role within Kodak is developing specialized inks and tech- nologies. His division at Kodak ofers a unique, affordable way to track products through a distribution sys- tem or to be able to tell a genuine product from a counterfeit one, safely and securely. Some inks are "ultra covert," making them so secure that even forensics labs are not able to detect them with sophisticated analy- sis. He says pharma counterfeiting has become increasingly appealing to criminals due to lucrative sales with almost no barriers to entry. "If a pharma company does nothing to mitigate risk, it is conceivable coun- terfeiters will pursue the slippery slope of being able to go replicate the API, the product, or even steal the formu- lation from overseas factories," Cutri tells PMP News. "If that goes unmiti- gated, that problem will continue to rise for that brand because there is no incentive for counterfeiters to move on to another brand that 'has an easier go at the product,' " he says. New systems and technologies make it easier for criminals to dupli- cate a company's product or alter serial numbers, Cutri says. Afordable digital scanning and printing tech- nologies lower the barrier to entry for counterfeiters, making label replica- tion a simple and inexpensive process, he says. GS1-compliant codes have a known sequencing, and counterfeiters may accurately guess at which serial- ized marks to print on knock-of pack- aging and labels, he says. Cutri says packaging designs geared up for third-party factories make for a more streamlined approach to mak- ing counterfeit cartons, boxes, and pill containers. Portable Mass Spectros- copy systems allow for analysis of drug formulations using small samples for testing. Infra-Red pens and UV lights provide quick and inexpensive ways to analyze pharma brands' labeling and packaging, allowing counterfeiters to reproduce these security features with IR upconverter and UV inks, readily available on Alibaba and other online channels. "And these are just the obvious tools and techniques available today," Cutri adds. One of Kodak's code scanning brand protection solutions.

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