Stopping Counterfeit Drugs with Edible Bar codes

There is some good news on the drugs front, in that a Honolulu, Hawaii-based company has now come up with a security platform that could put edible barcodes on food and pharmaceutical products. This has been done in a concerted effort to put a spanner in the wheels of a global counterfeiting problem thought to be worth as much as a trillion dollars.

These so-called micro-tags have been developed by the company TruTag Technologies. They are constructed out of silica, which of course is an ingredient in many foods, including sweeteners, which in fact are independent of packaging and labels. As such, they can be integrated directly into the product concerned, as they are no bigger than a dust particle.

Being in fact smaller than the width of a human hair, these so-called silica TruTags have the capacity for providing a truly enormous library of unique codes. Such a vast asset would enable the improved tracking and authentication of all manner of products, as every tag’s coded, nano-scale pattern would be scannable with Trutag  instruments.

You could liken these individual patterns to ID numbers containing all kinds of relevant information, from date of manufacture to product strength to country of authorized sale and place of manufacture. This should, it is believed  help prevent counterfeiting, as well as enhancing both traceability and safety aspects of both foods and medicines.

The undoubted, huge improvements in tracking and logistics would certainly help to assure product quality, and placing  product intelligence on the medicine itself, and not the packaging, would assist drug manufacturers and product security teams in the authentication of their products.

It is not that long ago that one of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world, GSK, paid a $750 million fine, because anti-anxiety and diabetes drugs got mixed in the same packaging, but if those drugs had been micro-tagged, it could not have happened. This innovative company has been named a 2014 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, and hope that their fantastic new invention will soon begin to impact on this terrible global counterfeiting problem, which has such a detrimental effect on so many lives.

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One Response

  1. Tony H Leather

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