Merck KGaA’s varied track & trace approach: 'We cannot rely on a singular security feature'

By Flora Southey contact

- Last updated on GMT

GettyImages/anyaberkut
GettyImages/anyaberkut

Related tags: Authentication, Merck kgaa

Merck KGaA says using a variety of tracking and authentication technologies and engaging with patients are vital to creating secure supply chains. 

At serialisation conference Nexus 17, ​held in Barcelona, Spain in June, Merck KGaA spokesman Andreas Pies said “We cannot rely on a singular security feature.”

Instead, the firm has incorporated proprietary technologies, including pigmented packaging and anti-counterfeiting platforms, to complement serialisation regulations.

Functional pigments

The implementation of functional pigments – manufactured by Merck’s specialty chemicals business - is one such security feature.

According to the firm, specialised pigments in product packaging enable simple identification and counterfeit protection.

“One additive enables razor-sharp laser markings and another facilitates easy product tracking, so items can be labelled and followed through the entire supply chain,” ​said the firm.

According to Pies, who heads up global engineering and technology at Merck Serono, the pigment allows Merck to “identify, via this pigment on our boxes, that a product has been produced by us, and is part of a secure production chain.”

Patient engagement

Pies said Merck is also increasing supply chain security via improved manufacturer-patient engagement.

“We are now expanding further to proceed with our anti-counterfeiting strategy, starting now with the first elements beyond the pure compliance requirements, to include our patients,” ​he said.

Merck’s software tool, Check My Meds​ – live since December 2014 in the US and since Q1 2017 in Colombia - allows patients to use their mobile phone to verify the barcode of Merck-made products, before taking the medications, Pies explained.

“This is very important in countries in particular, where we are facing higher levels of fake medicines and counterfeit products.”

“We have started with suppliers in the US and recently launched ​[Check My Meds] in Colombia, and are expanding further,” ​said Pies.

Pies said further developments and launches of the Check My Meds phone application is foreseen.

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