Not only does traceability contribute to product safety and security, but it is also an essential ingredient in improving productvity and profitability while helping to reduce counterfeiting.
(One important contribution of track and trace will be in dealing with the problem of counterfeit drugs. Back in 2010, counterfeit drug sales already exceeded $75 billion worldwide and that number is thought to be well over $100 billion today)
Across the world, governments are working on legislation to enable seamless tracking and tracing of each single pack of medication from the manufacturer to the point of dispensing the drug to a patient - achieved through serialisation of each and every individual packaging unit.
Ultimately, a consumer or pharmacist will have the ability to take a single package of any drug, scan it and get the information in order to determine whether the package is genuine.
In the USA, pharmacies must be able to capture and maintain transaction information (TI), transaction history (TH), and a transaction statement (TS), sometimes referred to as “the three Ts”, for six years from the date of the transaction for each product received.
The Industry preference is to print or code at the packaging line. The technique allows more control which is particularly important in high-speed operations.
When it comes to cost, printed 2D Data Matrix codes are proving the most cost effective.
Serialisation, the starting point of the track-and-trace process, means to make each product unique by placing an item identifier (serial number) on every single product which can then be traced right through the supply chain. The 2D Data Matrix is applied to every item on the production line enabling all subsequent product-related events, such as “produced,” “shipped,” “received,” “dispensed” to be captured along the supply chain by scanning the Data Matrix identifier. This captured information is then stored in a database to be integrated with product-related information - created as and where the product was prepared.
Coding on vials is an excellent example, bearing in mind their small size and the complex sequence of packaging operations. Videojet inkjet marking provides a clear and rugged “on-vial” traceability code to ensure the integrity of the data throughout the packaging process.
Videojet fiber laser marking systems also offer an ideal solution for high-speed marking on robust plastic and metal packaging materials.
High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) bottles remain one of the leading packaging solutions for pharmaceutical products. While many HDPE bottles are labelled, Videojet offers technology that makes it possible to mark direct to the bottle itself, rather than the label, in order to provide reliable and permanent traceability.
Matrix code on the bottom of a bottle can simplify downstream machine vision reading by eliminating the need to orient the bottle.
Using the Videojet UV laser at the targeted wavelength creates a dark, permanent, high resolution Data Matrix code against the light coloured HDPE substrate.
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