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Global technology company Honeywell on Monday announced digital authentication technology for pharmaceutical products in a bid to fight rising counterfeit crime in India.

An acute shortage of drugs to treat symptoms of Covid-19 has recently led to increased circulation of counterfeit medicines. There are reports of fake antiviral medicines and spurious injectable immunosuppressants in the market, jeopardizing the lives of Covid-19 patients and even leading to fatalities.

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With rising demand for vaccines, there is concern that fake vaccines could find their way into circulation. Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation sounded an alarm over the criminal exploitation of unmet global demand for Covid-19 vaccines. Already, counterfeit vaccines have been detected in countries such as Mexico and Poland.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to an influx of fake medical products worldwide. Interpol’s Operation Pangea reported a rise in fake medical products related to the pandemic, with 4.4 million units valued at $14M having been seized in 2020 alone. Worryingly, counterfeiting is not restricted to Covid-19 vaccines and medicines alone. As per one report, 10 drugs in circulation in low- and middle-income countries are either counterfeit or substandard.

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“Honeywell is deploying its authentication technology for the pharmaceutical industry in response to the growing menace of counterfeit products,” said Hitesh Mehta, General Manager, Advanced Materials, Honeywell India.

“Our sophisticated authentication technologies feature printing and substrates which can be easily identified but are difficult to alter and duplicate. Our technology offers brand protection for manufacturers and assurance of authentic products for end users.”.

The solution comprises a digital code that is embedded in the packaging of pharmaceutical products. The end user can validate the authenticity of the product by scanning the digital code with the help of a smartphone letting the end user know it is safe to use. The software that validates the product’s authenticity through a database is accessible through a Honeywell app available for download for iOS and Android users and gathers market intelligence.

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