The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) announced in October 2009 that trials of an anti-counterfeiting system are underway in Sweden, to try to combat the problem of counterfeit drugs entering the market.
A medicines verification system utilising a small data matrix is being trialled, which alerts the pharmacist immediately if a pack could be counterfeit. The data matrix allows each pack to be individually coded, providing information such as the product code, expiry date, batch number and a serial number which is unique to each pack.
The trial is taking place in conjunction with the retailer Apoteket AB and local wholesalers Tamro and Oriola, in 25 pharmacies in the Stockholm area. A total of 100,000 products will be verified.
The initiative is the response of EFPIA to the European Commission’s proposal for a mass serialisation of medicines as part of measures to better protect EU citizens from the serious threats posed by counterfeit drugs.
The trial will run until the end of November 2009.
Further reading - An in-depth analysis of the Swedish pharmaceutical market is available from Espicom: The Pharmaceutical Market: Sweden (published September 2009)