Editor's Note: To see FDAs Moheb Nasrs responses to Rittenburgs questions surrounding the latest overt and covert security measures, click the "Download Now" button at the end of this article.While RFID gets all the hype, other product security technologies are providing more practical, cost-effective measures for manufacturers. Nanotechnology has tremendous potential as a covert and forensic foil to counterfeiters and diverters. One of the leading firms in this area is Authentix (Addison, Texas), formed in 2003 following a merger of Biocode, Calyx and Isotag.
- Quantum photonic markers. Primarily phosphors and specialized dye molecules, these markers can be added to inks and coatings and, when analyzed under certain lighting, provide a unique fingerprint for a product. They can be administered by inkjet and other commonly used printing methods.
- Mass differentiation markers. These markers involve modifying the molecular weight of compounds by creating stable isotopes, so the compounds can be detected within an ink formulation or coating by lab analysts who know what theyre looking for. Its extremely difficult for anybody to detect or reverse engineer if they dont know what compounds youve changed the molecular weight of, says Rittenburg. Knowing what weve done to the compound allows us to get a very clean chromatogram that shows whether or not that material is present. Another person would never see it, because its so far down in the noise. They would just see all the peaks from the other components present.
- Molecular recognition technology. A molecular lock and key marker is inserted into the packaging or dosage form, and later can be recognized only by very specific receptor molecules and associated testing equipment.
- Color-changing inks. Colorless markers are incorporated into overt technologies such as holograms to provide layered security solutions. These colorless markers can be detected using special developing solutions which convert the markers from colorless to colored. Authentication can be quickly accomplished using simple handheld test pens.