HP primed for large-scale track/trace

HP might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of drug serialization and track/trace, but it seems to be working to change that. The tech giant is recently known in pharma circles for helping African social enterprise mPedigree launch an anti-counterfeiting system for malarial drugs. It provides cloud-based services for the mobile-phone-based system's validation of a 10-digit code to confirm product authenticity.

Elements of that same system could be used closer to home for an item currently on President Obama's to-do list: a national track/trace system for drugs. The technology underlying the mPedigree system, developed by HP, "can easily scale the service to other drugs in all parts of the world," says David Medina, director for worldwide health and life sciences industry, in an email.

HP provides the code generation and authentication system in addition to the cloud service, which connects the pharma companies, phone companies and mPedigree. The mass serialization codes comply with standards from the global supply chain visibility group, GS1. Authentication is via an HP short message service (SMS).

In the mPedigree implementation, the drugmaker prints codes on the products. When a customer sends the code via SMS it reaches the HP authentication service, which then returns a message verifying or denying the authenticity of the product.

Medina says HP has anti-counterfeiting tools in its product tracking portfolio, including smart label and packaging solutions, serialization and mass serialization (including RFID) solutions, e-pedigree/chain of custody solutions and an image based forensic service.  He says HP developed its track/trace expertise and technologies while protecting its own products against counterfeits.