Mark Miller of DuPont Medical & Industrial Packaging addressed “Counterfeit protection of medical devices,” at HealthPack 2005, held in late March in New Orleans. Below are many of the key points from his presentation.
“In the medical device industry, counterfeiting is a new subject. We have a chance to be proactive, rather than reactive as some industries have had to be.” Miller offered the following insights:
“Counterfeiters of pharmaceutical products and medical devices are going after either products with high value, such as cancer and HIV drugs, or large-volume drugs like Lipitor.”
A trouble spot, he said, was “once packaged product leaves your dock, it typically doesn’t go directly to the end user. Product can change hands 10 times before reaching a hospital.”
Miller said lost sales dollars are not the only counterfeiting problem, but there are also losses in your brand’s equity.
“A consumer, doctor, or nurse may not recognize the difference between a real or counterfeit product,” he noted. In one instance, Miller revealed that a counterfeiter added a holographic feature beyond what the authentic package had used to fight counterfeiting, saying the counterfeiter could do that because it doesn’t have the overhead costs as does a pharmaceutical firm or medical device maker. The counterfeiter does, however, often have sophisticated packaging equipment that’s on par with that used by legitimate manufacturers.
In summary, he said, “If your package designer or engineer can create a prototype of someone else’s package, so can a counterfeiter.”
For more information on HealthPack 2005, contact Innovative Technology Conferences, below.