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article imagePackaging innovations designed to reduce counterfeiting

By Tim Sandle     Nov 25, 2018 in Business
The world's supply chains are mostly secure, but counterfeiting still represents a multi-billion industry for criminals. As part of the battle against counterfeit goods, new innovations are emerging.
Counterfeit goods are estimated to constitute a $460 billion industry according to the International Trademark Association. Much of this trade involves consumers being scammed by thinking they have purchased an authentic brand name product. A more serious side is with the distribution of pharmaceuticals, where a patient could be given a drug that is not efficacious or even, due to adulteration, toxic. Research on drug quality and safety issues in India observed that there are approximately 20 percent of pharmaceutical products have serious issues originated during supply chain operation such as spurious drugs, falsely labelled drugs, or counterfeit drugs.
How can counterfeiters be stopped, or at lest slowed down? One answer, in addition to the efforts of law enforcement, is with the application of new technology. We consider three solutions.
Dust particles
For some goods, such as medical devices, anti-counterfeiting could involve something as simple—and small—as a dust-sized particle. TruTag Technologies has produced TruTag microtags, which are dust-sized particles that can be added packaging or labels. These are formed of high-purity silicon dioxide, and the particles can carry a detailed of digital information for product identification, authentication, and traceability, via specific spectral signatures.
Smart dust is also being used to help protect luxury goods. These micro-Internet-of-Things devices can be used to detect factors such as light or sound, but that could also be used to identify items via unique electromagnetic characteristics.
Tamper evidence caps
Tamper evident caps are used with the primary packaging of products. These types of caps have bands designed to protect bottles from opening. Aptar Avantage have developed a new product: this is a closure that opens with the push of a button found on the front of the cap. The design has two key features. First, tamper-evidence is compromised when the flip-top cap is removed by pushing the button on the closure front. Second, once opened, the press button has a permanent whitening effect to indicate that the product has been opened.
Another solution is with blockchain. One example is Bonafi, which integrates blockchain with a physical, electronic tag that does not require a battery. The tag is copy protected with a Public Key algorithm so that the tag cannot be duplicated. The Bonafi device has been covered in a previous Digital Journal article (see: "Tackling counterfeit goods through blockchain: Q&A").
More about Counterfeit, Goods, Distribution, antitamper
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