Because One Can’t Live on RFID Alone, AstraZeneca Banks On Unit Serialization for Nexium

Next quarter, AstraZeneca will be using a new security feature for its Nexium product, based on serialized 2-D bar codes using Authentix technology.  However, the platform will be flexible enough to work with RFID, when that technology is sufficiently mature.  Below, the press release.  We'll be covering this in depth in April's issue of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, so stay tuned. Next quarter, AstraZeneca and Authentix plan to roll out unit-level serialised tamper evident security seals (TESS) combined with unique carton numbers (UCN) for AZ's Nexium product. When the Serialised Authentication Program launches next quarter, AstraZeneca will become one of the first pharmaceutical companies to implement a comprehensive system to serialise and authenticate its pharmaceutical products down to the unit-level. The Serialised Authentication Programme for NEXIUM assigns unique serialised codes to each tablet blister pack via the carton and the associated tamper evident seal. Once a serialised code is assigned, it is activated, validated, and entered into a database where it can be cross-checked against all serialised codes throughout the AstraZeneca supply chain. In November 2006, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) endorsed serialisation as the most promising solution to fight counterfeiting and illegal diversion threats in Europe and globally. The EFPIA maintains that serialisation offers greater security, enhances tracking, and will work easily with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies when RFID matures. The Serialised Authentication Programme gives AstraZeneca the potential to monitor our supply chain. Furthermore, working with other pharma companies, industry bodies and government agencies, the system will eventually help facilitate the identification or verification of products across the entire supply chain, from the point of manufacture to the point of dispensing, says David Teale, Director of Product Security, AstraZeneca. In addition, the programme can be combined with other brand protection requirements for field authentication and tamper evidence. By becoming one of the first pharmaceutical companies to employ large-scale mass serialisation, AstraZeneca is leading the way says Jim Rittenburg, Vice President of Healthcare and Life Sciences, Authentix. AstraZeneca is showing patients that they are committed to being at the forefront of the fight against pharmaceutical counterfeiting. The Serialised Authentication Programme is the result of several years of collaborative work between Authentix and AstraZeneca which has resulted in a number of diverse regional authentication and serialisation solutions that help safeguard AstraZeneca products, and ultimately, the patients who depend on them. ABOUT AUTHENTIX