EFPIA to Launch Anticounterfeiting Pilot in Sweden

May 28, 2009
Stephanie Sutton

Stephanie Sutton was an assistant editor at Pharmaceutical Technology Europe.

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) announced a pilot program, to launch in Sweden later this year, that will focus on coding and identification solutions.

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) announced a pilot program, to launch in Sweden later this year, that will focus on coding and identification solutions. If successful, the system could provide an efficient and cost-effective method to meet the European Commission's new traceability requirement, which was recently proposed to combat the infiltration of counterfeit medicines into Europe.

"The threat posed by counterfeit medicines is real and growing," David Brennan, CEO of AstraZeneca (London), said in a May 18 EFPIA press release. "As an industry, we are focused on patient safety and ensuring the public can have confidence in their medicines. This coding system represents a major step forward towards that goal."

The pilot project will be run in partnership with EFPIA, the Swedish retail chain Apoteket AB, and local wholesalers Tamro and KD. Pharmacists will check a unique identification code, which will be generated and applied by manufacturers using a simple 2D data matrix barcode, on each pack before dispensing it to the patient. The scan will reveal any duplication of data on packs and trigger the system to immediately alert the pharmacists to the possibility of a counterfeit product.

"The 2D matrix coding solution contributes not only to the improvement of patient safety with regards to counterfeiting, but also to more effective ways of managing pharmaceutical products in pharmacies in the future," said Stefan Carlsson, director general of Apoteket AB, in the release.

The pilot, which will be a scaled-down version of a full EFPIA solution, is expected to last three to four months and will be entirely financed by the pharmaceutical industry.

Stephanie Sutton is an assistant editor at Pharmaceutical Technology Europe.