The International Chamber of Commerce has calculated that global sales of fake goods exceed $2 trillion annually. Counterfeiting and ‘grey market diversion’ pose a significant threat to the reputations and profitability of brands and – in the case of packaged medicines – can actually endanger the lives of unwitting users. The World Health Organization estimates that each year some 120,000 people die in Africa as a direct result of being treated with fake anti-malarial drugs which have somehow found their way into the supply chains of governments and relief agencies.

Track & Trace

KPG’s HP Indigo 30000 press allows us to offer some truly effective end-to-end solutions that address this growing problem. Fully customisable unique codes – either overt or completely invisible – can be printed on any package or label, enabling a brand’s databases and tracking infrastructures to monitor the product from our press room all the way to the end user. A readily obtainable app will tell a consumer precisely where and when a product was made, and exactly what distribution channels it has passed through. While the codes can be interpreted by regular mobile devices and readers, they incorporate lines of encrypted data which cannot be copied, and if a counterfeit code is scanned, the back-end system will automatically generate the appropriate alerts.

As well as enhancing security in the field of pharmaceuticals, this technology has much to offer suppliers of high value goods, luxury items and limited editions. When choosing to authenticate a product by means of an app, the consumer passes useful personal data to the brand owner. Besides the potential for further marketing and customer engagement, this data could help to limit the scope of a product recall if a problem were to come to light. Knowing precisely who has bought any affected products gives a brand owner a much increased degree of control.

The inclusion of track-and-trace functionality need not compromise the aesthetic appeal of the package design – variable microtext works perfectly at 1pt or even smaller, while mini QR codes can measure less than 2.5mm square. These elements can therefore be worked into parts of the design that a counterfeiter would be reluctant to tamper with.

 

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