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EFPIA starts anti-counterfeiting pilots in Sweden

Published on 21/10/09 at 02:11pm

More than 100,000 products and 25 retail pharmacies in Stockholm will take part in a two-month anti-counterfeiting project run by European pharma industry body EFPIA.

Products will be given a tiny individual 'data matrix', similar to a barcode, that allows pharmacists to verify their authenticity, with the aim of reducing the risk of patients receiving counterfeit drugs.

EFPIA director general Brian Ager said the project represented an important contribution towards solving the problem of counterfeit medicines.

"Individual product verification will not provide a complete solution to the challenge of counterfeit medicines. Nevertheless, as part of a package of measures, this type of end-to end verification system will make a significant contribution to product security and reinforce patient confidence in the legitimate supply chain," he added.

EFPIA is partnering with Swedish pharmaceutical retailer Apoteket AB and the wholesaler Tamro & Oriola-KD.

Apoteket chief executive Stefan Carlsson said: "We recognise that both pharmacists and patients need to have confidence in the medical supply chain, which is why we were willing to be involved at the outset.

"Our pharmacists' initial experience with the system confirms its ease of use, with no significant delays for patients. It offers an accessible and inclusive method of addressing the pharmacist's role in providing product verification."

The tiny data matrix, which is smaller than a fingernail, provides pharmacists with an almost instantaneous verification of whether a pack has been previously dispensed, which EFPIA said was a warning sign it could be counterfeit.

The pilot scheme is expected to run until late November and EFPIA hopes the system, if rolled out across the region, would offer the basis for a cost-effective, harmonised and interoperable system across EU Member States.

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