Fighting counterfeit drugs

Track & Trace

Counterfeit drugs is an issue that is growing in severity worldwide, not only putting patients at risk, but also harming pharmaceutical manufacturers through damaged reputations, reduced revenues and lower returns on investment (ROI) in research and development. In fact, the market for fake drugs is estimated at $200 billion a year globally. [Thomson Reuters]


To fight counterfeit pharmaceuticals, governments are aiming to harmonize legislation across borders and several new regulations will be coming into effect in the coming years. This includes a new product serialization that will be applied across Europe in 2016. Also, in 2013, the German pilot project “securPharm” will start.


The development of new technologies contributes to counteract the increasing distribution of fake drugs. One key advance in this area is Track and Trace technology, a method of serialization and authentication. Thereby full traceability of pharmaceutical products is provided to allow easy identification of counterfeit drugs when delivered to the consumer.


With Track and Trace, the product’s serial number is recorded at various points throughout the supply chain on a central server or on the product itself. This both facilitates the discovery of where counterfeit products have entered the supply chain and allows full traceability of products on a global basis.


Our Bosch Packaging Technology Track and Trace solution uses a Carton Printing System module (CPS) consisting of a printer and camera. Every product is automatically numbered and tracking data is checked for accuracy. The camera reads and verifies each printed digit with the Optical Character Recognition and Verification (OCR/OCV) tool. All camera-read data are stored in a central database for tracking and tracing that can be linked to regulatory bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Ministry of Health.



Facing the increasing threat of counterfeit products, technologies like Track and Trace systems are part of the solution. They contribute to reduce the effects of pharmaceutical plagiarism to manufacturers and help to protect patients.



Franz Ludwig

Product Manager Track & Trace

phone: +49 (0) 711 811 57234




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