Unichem adopts SMS verification technology in India

Nathan Sigworth/Prakash ModyIndian drugmaker Unichem Laboratories has signed up with text message-based verification specialist PharmaSecure to add unique codes to some of its pharmaceutical brands, including drugs for anxiety and high blood pressure.

The news comes just weeks after PharmaSecure signed its first pharmaceutical customer for the technology after a successful pilot in India earlier this year.

The aim is to protect products and consumers from counterfeiting and diversion, according to the two companies, which said Unichem had purchased 70 million codes to apply to products distributed nationally in India in the first instance.

PharmaSecure's alphanumeric codes can be printed directly onto the blister pack, medicine bottle or vial, or indeed onto a product's label. The unique identifier codes can be texted by a consumer to a phone number that is printed alongside the code. Within seconds, a message is sent from Unichem back to the consumer to indicate whether or not the code is genuine.

Two of the brands that will carry the codes are Unichem's anxiety treatment Trika (alprazolam) and Losar (losartan) for high blood pressure, although the company said that the decision to apply the technology was not a direct response to a counterfeiting problem.

"This is an additional feature that will provide more value to their customers," said a spokesman for the company.

"These are just a couple examples of drugs that Unichem may put the codes on and the first ones that have been coded so far; the project is not necessarily limited to these drugs," he continued, adding: "These were done first because they are high-volume and fast-moving products that will hit the market soon, and it allowed trials and implementation at a variety of types of packaging facilities."

Unichem said in a statement it chose PharmaSecure’s technology because of its high scalability and ability to integrate efficiently into current factory processes. The codes will be set up at two plants in India.

There will be no change to Unichem’s manufacturing processes and production output will remain the same, it added. 

Related articles:

PharmaSecure signs first customer for SMS authentication system

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