"Authentication at the point of dispensing" is a combination of software and hardware that enables pharmaceutical companies to investment in mass serialisation security technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID) tags.
An RFID tag has inside it a tiny computer chip that holds information. This new smart packaging technology was recently recommended by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adoption in pharmaceutical counterfeit protection.
>Aegate believes its technology could be a potent weapon against sales of counterfeit drugs, which are forecast to reach a staggering $75 billion (€64 billion) by the end of the decade, nearly doubling current levels and outgrowing the annual growth rate of legitimate pharmaceutical sales.
The company believes the technology will also strengthen the fight against medication errors - which cause 11 per cent of hospital admissions in the UK.
Using the system, pharmacists scan the drug items using the laptop-based system designed by Aegate and are presented with a visual display of the data held in the system about the product batch, including the expiry date.
As well as detecting fraud, the system was able to pick up expired or short-dated products at a glance - a feature held up as one of the most popular benefits of the technology by the pharmacists in the pilot study. They also liked the way the system could be used by drug companies to communicate breaking safety information.
Aegate's service opens up a comprehensive, real-time patient safety communication channel between businesses involved at both ends of the pharmaceutical supply chain; namely the manufacturers and dispensing chemists, doctors and hospitals, worldwide, the company said.
Authentication at the point of dispensing will confirm that a medicine is as intended by the manufacturer and regulators at the time of dispensing, said Aegate.
Sun Microsystems recently announced the launch of its software package, 'RFID Industry Solution for Drug Authentication," also aimed as an anti-counterfeiting tool for the pharmaceutical market.
While RFID technology is exploding into the industry, accompanying software packages such as the ones being offered by Sun and Aegate are still in their infancy. Its use may be slow to implement because it involves cooperation by every part of the supply chain.
Gary Noon has now been appointed as CEO of Aegate with the specific purpose of leading the commercialisation programme of the Aegate solution.
Gary Noon has 25 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry, fulfilling a number of roles including, senior positions in general management, marketing, business development and sales in the US and Europe.
He replaces Ian Rhodes, the current CEO of Aegate, who will now take up the position of vice chairman of Aegate, and remain on the board as a non-executive director of the company.