Recently the DEA has issued warnings regarding counterfeit pills, particularly those used in pain management. A CNN report revealed that pill presses, used in producing counterfeit pills that often contain the deadly drug fentanyl, are reaching our country’s border in record numbers. In fact, customs agents claim the rate at which they are seizing the presses is 19 times higher than in 2011. Part of the problem is that the pills look identical to the naked eye when compared with legitimate prescription drugs, and it’s all too easy for people to buy a pill press or even fentanyl online.
Essentially, countless people have died from taking what they believe is hydrocodone, oxycodone, Xanax, or other legitimate drugs. Most of the counterfeit drugs are coming from China, according to news reports which state that more than 40% of the goods arriving in America from outside the country come in at the Port of Long Beach, CA.
While there isn’t a simple or quick solution to this growing epidemic, authorities urge consumers to only purchase or use prescription drugs that come directly from a pharmacist or doctor.
One measure that can be taken to counteract the growing threat of counterfeit drugs is coding and labeling that makes replicating packaging or labels extremely challenging. This can be accomplished by using flexible coding systems such as laser coding or CIJ (continuous ink jet) technology, which is UV-readable. Manufacturers are mandated to adhere to strict serialization of pharmaceutical packaging, which requires that product data and unique serial numbers are combined into a Data Matrix code for application to the packaging of the product.
Laser and CIJ coding are both highly effective in deterring the counterfeiting of medications, including pain killers. Perhaps the proper coding and marking system is part of the solution to this deadly epidemic?
REA JET U.S. provides a wide array of industrial marking solutions to the pharmaceutical industry. Learn more about our equipment and how it can help guard against counterfeiting, while preserving consumer trust and confidence, by contacting us today.