Diamond’s benefits touted in pharma’s future security concerns

By Matt Sanderson in Anti-Counterfeiting on August 06, 2015

Within the pharmaceutical industry, as well as most other markets, counterfeiting has become everyone’s problem, as stated earlier this year by Pfizer’s director of global security at Pharmapack North America. 

According to Taaneh, a company that specializes in drug authentication, global sales of counterfeit drugs are on the rise, citing a World Health Organization statement of $431 billion in a Council of Foreign Relations report. Current counterfeit protection technologies use serialization, color-coding, or imprinting methods, but Taaneh states these strategies can be easily replicated and can often only trace either product or package, not both. 

CEO Andrew Janoff, Ph.D., tells PMP News that researchers are now exploring the use of diamond as an authentication tool for drug manufacturers.

“As an allotrope of carbon, diamond is an inert substance that can be added to drug formulations,” Janoff says. “It can also be added to packaging materials and the inks used in product labeling. When diamond is exposed to certain wavelengths of light, it emits unique spectral signatures that cannot be duplicated. Even in trace amounts, the spectral signatures occur and can be detected and confirmed with a programmable handheld scanner.”

Janoff says that using diamond in product and packaging makes it possible to authenticate a product at any point in the supply chain from manufacturer to consumer. 

When asked how diamond could be used in pharmaceutical packaging and labeling, Janoff says that diamond powder is inexpensive and can blend easily into inks commonly used in labeling and printing, and that ink encrypted with diamond can be used to print already approved labels.

“There is no requirement for additional artwork or need for additional space,” he says. “Adding diamond powder into industrial ink does not require specialized equipment and can be quickly and seamlessly integrated into most existing label and package production protocols. After the desired concentration of diamond powder is mixed into the ink before printing, all packaging and labeling processes can continue as usual without alterations or costly modifications to production procedures.”

In trace amounts, diamond powder can blend into the ink without changing its consistency of color, Janoff says, and it remains invisible until the label is exposed to light from a programmable handheld scanner. The scanner can then identify the presence of diamond and confirm the unique spectral signature that verifies authenticity, he says. 

“Confirmation is achievable in labeling at any stage of distribution,” Janoff says.

He notes that modern counterfeiters can copy many common verification measures currently used in the pharma industry, including serialization, color-coding, and the addition of imprints or watermarks. New anti-counterfeiting technologies for pharmaceutical packaging and labeling require fast, accurate security measures that cannot be easily replicated.

“The use of diamond powder meets all of the most important industry goals in authentication,” Janoff says. “Diamond’s unique spectral signatures are almost impossible to duplicate; when diamond powder is added to product formulations and packaging, these signatures can be observed and verified instantaneously with a handheld scanner at every step of the distribution chain.”

Janoff says that diamond makes it possible to confirm authenticity even when the drug is separated from its packaging.

“Based on its properties and ease of use, diamond has the potential to be used to authenticate many consumer products, including drugs, over the counter health products, cosmetics and fragrances, clothing, specialty foods, accessories, jewelry, art and much more,” he says.

For more company information, visit http://taaneh.com

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