While the internet has made commerce easy for both merchants and consumers, it has its drawbacks — particularly in the world of pharmaceuticals. More and more, counterfeit rings are setting up pharmaceutical sites and selling fake medicine to individuals all over the country. Many a time, these pharmaceuticals are placebos, and for those with heart conditions or are seeking time-sensitive results from medication, this can be detrimental. Otherwise, counterfeit drugs are laced with fillers that can be anything from rat poison to paint solvent. This, of course, is extremely dangerous, and can poison an unsuspecting individual.
In response to the threat of counterfeit drugs, pharmaceutical packaging companies have implemented track and trace serialisation protocols in order to ensure that pharmaceuticals are safe and legitimate.
So what is track and trace pharma? Described in simple terms, track and trace pharmaceuticals are a process of serialisation that tracks and traces medicine as they travel down the chain of command. This means from manufacturer, to packaging, to each point of distribution, the pharmacist will be able to see where and how the pharmaceuticals have been and progressed over the course of its lifetime.
When pharmaceutical packaging companies create the packaging for medicine, they all receive a serial number. As it goes down the chain of command, each person that handles the pharmaceuticals is responsible for scanning that serial number, marking its time, location, and stop on its journey.
Pharmaceutical serialisation is a process that is less than a decade old, and because of this, it is not a perfect system. Scanning the serial code requires a great deal of accountability from each middle man; without a uniformity in organization, it is difficult to replicate this system globally. Right now, pharmaceutical packaging companies are working to make track and trace serialisation a globally uniform system. As this continues, the hope is to reduce the incidence and proliferation of counterfeit drugs on the market.