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October 1st, 2009
John Ricketts of drugmaker Lilly Europe said counterfeit medicines producers use very crude manufacturing facilities, but "the one thing they invest in is packaging," making it very difficult to differentiate between real and fake medicines.
He said a combination of robust measures is needed to stamp out illegal trade. The simplest way would be to ban repackaging, he said, but the Commission has avoided this for fear of putting parallel traders out of business.
If parallel traders are allowed to stay in business, said Ricketts, they should be forced to apply equivalent safety features to those required of pharmaceutical companies. He said the research-based pharmaceutical sector is in favour of 2-D barcodes to aid traceability, and companies are also using nanotechnology "deep holograms" to help tell real packages from fake ones.
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