Me­thods for the de­tec­tion of pro­duct coun­ter­feit­ing

Pro­tec­tion of in­tel­lec­tu­al pro­per­ty rights

Coun­ter­feit­ing of phar­maceu­ti­cal pro­ducts be­co­mes more and more so­phis­ti­ca­ted. The num­ber of un­de­tec­ted cases of phar­maceu­ti­cal imi­ta­ti­ons can sc­ar­ce­ly be esti­ma­ted. The los­ses of the phar­maceu­ti­cal in­dus­try are esti­ma­ted to be 17 to 25 bil­li­on dol­lars and the ten­den­cy is in­crea­sing. In wes­tern coun­tri­es both the eco­no­my and the health of the peop­le are se­ver­ely af­fec­ted whe­re­as the health of the peop­le is pri­ma­ri­ly af­fec­ted in the emer­ging and less de­ve­lo­ped coun­tri­es. The glo­bal ex­chan­ge and glo­bal de­li­very re­la­ti­ons­hips of the phar­maceu­ti­cal in­dus­try with glo­bal­ly dis­per­sed pro­duc­tion sites are al­ways tar­gets of coun­ter­feit­ing and new imi­ta­ti­ons of pro­ducts. So it is no­wa­days not unusu­al that for a sin­gle pro­duct the pack­a­ging comes from China, the drug its­elf from India and the pack­a­ge in­s­ert from the Czech Re­pu­blic and they are pa­cked and mar­ked in Hun­ga­ry to­ge­ther with blis­ter ma­te­ri­als from Ger­ma­ny. This gives rise to nu­me­rous op­por­tu­nities for fraud that are al­re­a­dy being ex­ploi­ted. For ex­amp­le, in­ef­fec­tive coun­ter­feit or un­li­cen­s­ed imi­ta­ti­ons of card­board boxes prin­ted in China can be pack­a­ged and sold in nu­me­rous quan­ti­ties.

The goal of this pro­ject is to de­ve­lop a me­thod, which will dis­co­ver coun­ter­fei­ted and imi­ta­ted brand pro­ducts to com­bat coun­ter­feit in the phar­maceu­ti­cal sec­tor. The me­thod is based on the com­bi­na­ti­on of con­tact free ana­ly­sis, which en­su­res re­lia­ble and non-de­struc­tive dif­fe­ren­tia­ti­on bet­ween ori­gi­nal and coun­ter­feit pro­ducts by iden­ti­fy­ing in­trin­sic and / or con­cea­led mar­kings of the pro­ducts. By this me­thod, coun­ter­feit­ing would be so ex­pen­si­ve that it would be un­pro­fi­ta­ble. Ano­ther im­portant as­pect of this me­thod is the de­tec­tion of un­aut­ho­ri­zed, po­ten­ti­al­ly harm­ful coun­ter­feit drugs. The­re­fo­re, the me­thod im­pro­ves drug sa­fe­ty. A re­duc­tion of the da­ma­ges and the as­so­cia­ted costs for the health sys­tem re­sults from this.

The pro­ject is con­duc­ted in co­ope­ra­ti­on with ACC Tera­hertz, De­part­ment of Phy­si­cal Che­mis­try II and Pho­to­nIQ Tech­no­lo­gies GmbH. The pro­ject is spon­so­red by the NRW-EU Ziel 2 Pro­gram "Re­gio­nal Com­pe­ti­tiven­ess and Em­ploy­ment Pro­gram 2007-2013".

The ana­ly­ti­cal me­thods to be ex­amined in­clu­de tera­hertz spec­trosco­py, tera­hertz ima­ging and other op­ti­cal me­thods of ana­ly­sis (for ex­amp­le spec­tral ana­ly­sis in the vi­si­ble spec­tral range).

In our de­part­ment, a THz ima­ging sys­tem is con­struc­ted, which makes it pos­si­ble to look in­si­de the box and screen its con­tent. This sys­tem is based on the first com­mer­ci­al­ly avail­able THz ima­ger from Syn­view, which is cur­rent­ly being mo­di­fied for the pur­po­ses of the pro­ject. The spec­tral ana­ly­sis in the vi­si­ble wa­ve­length range and other op­ti­cal me­a­su­re­ment me­thods are also in­clu­ded in the pro­ject tasks of our de­part­ment.

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