One Nucleus: â€œThe technique will allow faster identification and resolution of any manufacturing quality problems but will also prove invaluable as an anti-counterfeit measure because the specific coding and validation systems are almost impossible to copy.
Currently most components within diagnostic kits, medical devices and other healthcare products and equipment are â€˜stampedâ€™ with a lot code at the point of manufacture. However, these codes are of limited use for quality improvement unless products are produced in very small batches. As a result, regulatory bodies across the world are now putting manufacturers under increasing pressure to invest in much more sophisticated traceability systems, while manufacturers are looking for effective ways to prevent the growing problem of counterfeiting of pharmaceuticals and other healthcare products.
The breakthrough approaches being developed by Innomech will enable manufacturers to mark products with a code that is either unique to the item or shared by only a small number of items produced together.
The codemark is an unobtrusive two-dimensional dot matrix identifier that is linked to a look-up database. In effect the matrix code acts as a â€˜keyâ€™ to access much more detailed information, such as the specific batch codes of raw materials used during production, the time of manufacture, the production line and so on. A version of the database could be accessible online for anyone to verify the item is genuine.
The codes can be printed or laser etched onto products, applied to virtually any substrate and can even be added onto the surface of pharmaceutical capsules or coated tablets. Matrix codes can be as small as 2 mm by 2 mm holding the code for up to 10 billion numbers. The codes can be read by widely available readers or in many cases from a picture taken with even the simplest camera phone, making them ideal in the battle against counterfeit medicines.â€
This is an interesting approach to an age old problem. I wonder if this technology could be used to embed drug information directly on the medication as well, an idea that I hijacked from the Nursetopia website where Joni Watson muses that â€œBoth companies and pharmacies could add a QR code/Microsoft Tag to the medication label for patients and/or healthcare professionals to scan and directly access the patient medication information sheet.â€ Why not put the QR code directly on the medication itself? Why not indeed.