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Pharmaceutical Industry Backs 2-D Bar Code Technology
In The Fight Against Counterfeits



May 30, 2007 - Brussels – The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) today announced its support for a pan-European and industry-wide solution to protect patient safety through a more transparent medicine supply chain, thereby attempting to tackle the rise in counterfeit medicines entering the European legitimate supply chain. Championing 2D Data-Matrix Bar Coding, instead of the less reliable and more expensive RFID, EFPIA have taken the lead in the European healthcare sector on proposing a common Pan European technological solution to support its call for tighter regulation and better enforcement in the supply chain to protect patient safety.

2D Data MatrixSpeaking at the Brussels meeting, Thomas Cueni, member of EFPIA Board and chair of the Economic and Social Policy Committee that oversees the proposal, spoke of the pressing need for a transparent and secure medicines supply chain that puts the patient first and where all stakeholders take responsibility for guaranteeing the integrity of medicines. "EFPIA proposes introducing unique bar-coding on every medicine pack in Europe before it leaves its manufacturer" said Cueni "Thereafter, at every stage of its distribution, up to the point at which it reaches the patient, the medicine can be authenticated to make sure it is genuine."

The encrypted 2D Data Matrix Bar-Code can also carry a randomized number unique to the individual pack, making it even harder for counterfeiters to successfully copy and bring their fakes to market. By using a hand held bar-code reader common in most European pharmacies, the dispenser will be free to scan the encrypted 2-D data matrix code and check vital data including recall information and the details of every trader who has handled that pack in the supply chain.

Brian Ager, Director-General of EFPIA, welcomed the proactive stance of the industry and urged all stakeholders to support EFPIA's position. "It is the right of every patient in Europe to receive quality medicines. To achieve this, changes will be needed to current European regulations to preserve a medicine's integrity and stop intermediaries tampering with them. We therefore strongly urge the European Commission to consider the benefits to all stakeholders of medicines traceability and authentication through its review of medicines distribution in Europe."

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