“Pill ID”

MIT Technology Review, March/April 2009, by TR Editors — To deter the theft and counterfeiting of medication, NanoGuardian has developed a way to apply nanoscale patterns to individual pills and capsules so that they can be authenticated or traced. The company won’t say how the technology works but claims that the mechanism for producing the pattern can be built into a capsule mold. Detection of the nano pattern has to be performed by NanoGuardian itself, using proprietary means. The technology has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use by a NanoGuardian client.


What is Nanoguardian?

NanoGuardian provides a state-of-the-art, nanotechnology-based defense against pharmaceutical counterfeiting and illegal diversion.

Utilizing a patented NanoEncryption™ process, NanoGuardian delivers true forensic, multilayered authentication and tracing capability on each and every dose.

In the NanoEncryption process, NanoCodes are incorporated directly onto tablets, capsules and vial caps. These codes may be associated with an unlimited amount of manufacturer-determined data, including product information (strength and expiration date), manufacturing information (location, date, batch and lot number) and distribution information (country, distributor, wholesaler and chain).

Where Nanoguardian Works

NanoGuardian was first introduced as a solution for the pharmaceutical supply chain, which is estimated to suffer more than $35 billion1 in lost revenue a year.


NanoGuardian’s NanoCodes can also be linked to on-package e-pedigree technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID) and 2-D barcodes, creating a true multilayered protective shield of each individual dose from plant to patient. At the overt level, a simple field inspection can reveal if a dose is authentic. The forensic-level NanoCodes, however, can only be detected with highly specialized, proprietary tools within NanoGuardian’s Product Integrity Centers, enhancing the unrivaled security of the NanoGuardian process.

But in fact, counterfeiting and illegal diversion plague industries throughout the world, with counterfeit currency, bogus credit cards and fake watches as widely cited examples. Less publicized is the widespread counterfeiting of auto and aircraft parts, medical devices, software, luxury goods, ID cards, passports and more.

Fortunately, the NanoGuardian process provides authentication and traceability of a product, at the unit level, throughout the supply chain. If you’re curious as to whether NanoGuardian could play a role in securing and protecting your brand, please go to the Contact Us section of this site.

1 The Center for Medicines in the Public Interest

Closed-Loop Protection

Once NanoGuardian’s NanoEncryption technology is fully implemented for a particular product or products, you can take advantage of NanoGuardian’s Closed-Loop Protection™ offering.

Closed-Loop Protection combines the dual-protective benefits of NanoEncryption™ technology with a proactive market-monitoring program, creating an “early warning” system in the fight against counterfeiting and diversion. This results in reduced risk to brands, companies and patients.

Whether global or regional in scope, Closed-Loop Protection allows you to proactively focus brand protection efforts wherever in the world you suspect counterfeiting or diversion. With Closed-Loop Protection, NanoEncrypted doses are authenticated within 24 hours of receipt, exposing the counterfeits. And because of the specific distribution data associated with NanoGuardian’s forensic-level NanoCodes, you will immediately know of any dose that is not precisely where you intend it to be. Before NanoGuardian, brand-protection technology so revealing simply didn’t exist.

NanoGuardian protects returned goods. The appearance of counterfeit and diverted product in the returns side of the supply chain is escalating. In fact, it is not uncommon for counterfeit and diverted product to be found in genuine packaging. NanoGuardian enables manufacturers and returned goods agents to quickly and easily authenticate returns within minutes, and do so with relatively inexpensive and readily available tools.

Samples of returned product can be quickly analyzed at a NanoGuardian Product Integrity Center, providing a means of detecting diverted product “laundered” through the returned goods process and bringing a stop to this costly problem.

NanoGuardian can validate adverse events. When non-typical adverse events are reported, NanoGuardian can be used to authenticate the product in question and potentially save your brand from erroneous adverse label changes that reduce its competitiveness.


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