Swindon’s Wasdell Packaging is warning people to be careful of the pharmaceuticals they buy and to make sure they know how to spot counterfeit products.
The World Health Organisation has released figures which show that globally the counterfeit drugs market is worth $30 billion, and whilst it is more prolific in developing countries, where it is estimated that one in 10 products are fake and tens of thousands of children are estimated to die each year as a result, the UK is not immune to the issue. In 2006 alone, over 2.5 million fake pharmaceutical items were seized coming across EU borders.
With more people also buying drugs online, it becomes harder to trace the provenance of the products and have confidence that what you receive is not only what it portrays to be, but that it has also been manufactured and processed to the correct quality standards.
However, Wasdell hopes that in a few months counterfeiting drugs will become harder and the public can have more confidence thanks to the introduction of serialisation to Europe in April 2019.
Already mandatory in the United States, serialisation allows anyone to check the product’s credentials and history with the swipe of a QR barcode. This will immediately alert the user if the drugs are suspected to be counterfeit.
Wasdell is one of the few companies in the UK with the technology to meet the requirements of serialisation.
Martin Tedham, Chief Executive of Wasdell, said: “Serialisation is making massive changes to the pharmaceutical industry across the world, however many manufacturers are not ready for the new regulations.
“From next year, consumers here in the UK will start to see QR codes printed on the boxes of their pharmaceuticals, together with the lot number, expiry date plus manufacturing information. Anyone can download the software to read these codes and with just a swipe can pull up all the information they will need to have confidence in the product.
“We have already started producing serialised products for the market. It has been estimated that 1% of products sold in the EU are counterfeit, and this would be the equivalent of seven million dispensed prescriptions here in the UK. Serialisation should be able to stop a lot of this and we are proud to be able to offer this to our manufacturers in order to promote consumer confidence in Swindon, the rest of the UK and across the rest of the world.”