Dimensions of Healthcare
Highlights of Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam comments on Innovative Packaging at the 43rd Annual General Meeting of OPPI.
Spurious and Counterfeit medicines is an increasing concern for the patients,
industry, and national policy-makers. It has become one of the key issues
besieging the entire world - both the developing as well as the developed
nations. The pharmaceutical sector is a strategic sector for India as it contributes
to public health, generates positive effects on the Indian economy and improves
the general level of welfare. It is crucial to bear in mind from the outset that the
"pharmaceutical sector" in the broad sense includes a variety of other actors,
ranging from suppliers of medicinal products ingredients (in particular the active
pharmaceutical ingredient, "API"), importers, wholesalers (including parallel
traders), retailers/pharmacies, and other traders (brokers, etc.). Concerning
pharmaceuticals, reduced safety, quality, or efficacy can be life-threatening. In
this respect, pharmaceuticals are distinct from many other consumer products.
Even one single case of spurious medicine is not acceptable because, in addition
to putting patients at risk and undermining the public confidence in their
medicines. The challenge is that wrongful duplication occurs in even low cost
pharmaceutical products, many of which could be critical or life saving
medicines. This makes it a very serious concern as such products not only harm
the nation's citizens but also potentially percolate across the national borders to
the entire world. Such occurrence also results into a very wrong perception of
the country it originates and immensely damages the reputation of a nation as
the source and hub of spurious / counterfeiting activity.
The only way to combat such a serious menace is by adopting science and
technology measures. There are several science and technology measures, which
have been successfully developed which are really good as well as cost effective.
These technologies can be easily integrated to provide a viable solution to the
menace. Any packaged goods can use effective novel technology embedded
packaging solutions which are difficult to copy yet cost effective and pose
greater deterrence to the duplicator.
I have seen some company's in India who have done remarkable research and
development resulting in immensely viable innovations which can be used
affordably by even low cost medicines. Such innovations include technologies in
material sciences as well as electronics. These innovations can be the change
agent to defeat social criminals who blatantly duplicate products wrongfully,
causing great harm to people at large. I had been to one such innovative
company called Bilcare in December 2007. They have done some remarkable
work on several technology innovations in packaging materials and have also
developed a unique nonClonableID™ security solution which can be effectively used
to not only combat counterfeit by providing a means to identify the genuinity of
the medicine but also provide capability to secure the supply chain which is the
weakest link attacked by the duplicator to push in spurious medicines. I was
extremely happy when I unveiled the technology and had asked the group of
scientists to work further on the technology to make it totally adaptable to
packaged drug products. I was informed that lot of additional research has gone
into the application and adaptation processes.
There is, therefore a need for much closer interactions between the
pharmaceutical manufacturers and the technology providers to instigate
continual innovation process and enable the incorporation of outcomes of these
innovations in the form of customized solutions which in turn will provide a
greater level of security and confidence to the patients. I urge the
pharmaceutical industry to support such innovations happening in our country
and partner for looking into implementing such innovations which will result in
great value to our citizens.
Excerpts from the speech
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