Working Together to Prevent Pharmaceutical Counterfeiting


Counterfeit drugs are a significant threat — to patient safety, to public health, to supply chain integrity — raising concerns over potential liability for consumers, manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies, governments, and other entities.

As supply chains become more complex and global, efforts to combat the use of counterfeit drugs pose new challenges. In 2010 alone, counterfeit drugs generated an estimated $75 billion in revenue according to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. A recent literature review involving counterfeit medicines reported that between the years 2002 and 2012 incidents involving counterfeit drugs increased from 196 to 2,018. Increased counterfeiting of pharmaceuticals is due to several factors, including:

  • Size and value of the pharmaceutical market
  • Foreign sourcing and manufacturing
  • Drug shortage and demand (including abuse)
  • Ease of counterfeiting and high payoff
  • Low risk of consequences or penalties

In an effort to deter counterfeiting, Dr. Crystal Morrison Densmore of RJ Lee Group has partnered with DNA Technologies to develop solutions for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. DNA Technologies offers an anti-counterfeiting solution to the marketplace through its combination of synthetic, DNA-laced security markers that can encode company and product-specific information into inks, dyes, and resins to provide the ultimate security marker – the DNA MatrixTM. DNA Technologies has become a leader in providing security marking and unequalled protection for valuable products, brands, and intellectual property.

Dr. Morrison Densmore’s collaboration with DNA Technologies pairs her expertise in materials with a recognized leader in protection against counterfeiting and product diversion. Together, the team will leverage extensive expertise in materials science, the pharmaceutical industry, and industrial forensics with DNA Technologies’ experience in printing, covert and overt security marking and counterfeit deterrence, in order to deliver critical solutions to challenges facing pharma. The team will use DNA Matrix™ technology to develop a truly robust anti-counterfeiting system that layers multi-dimensional overt, covert, and forensic features.

Without multi-dimensional features, preventing counterfeiting is almost impossible.

In basic form, 2D barcodes are an overt readable method for identification and tracking. They can be effective for streamlining provider immunization practices and efficient information capture. However, drug companies need to incorporate additional features in layers for real security.

“We are pleased to partner with Dr. Morrison Densmore,” commented Wendell Smith, Chairman of DNA Technologies. “With the growth of the global supply of counterfeit drugs, there is no easy solution to the counterfeiting problem, but pharmaceutical companies, distributors, governments and companies like us, all have important roles to play. It is clear that industry needs to establish a more formalized system for tracking, sourcing and security information to combat the counterfeit threat. This is the basis for our collaboration.”

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