Vetter has announced a major milestone concerning drug safety, by offering the option of clearly identifying packaging used for drugs.

The company’s comprehensive and flexible serialisation service is in response to stricter guidelines from regulatory authorities aimed at combating counterfeit drugs.

Pharmaceutical and biotech companies can use Vetter’s individually customisable solutions as a basis for their own track-and-trace programs to optimise their supply chain.

The number of counterfeit drugs on the market has quickly become a global challenge, by putting patients at risk and costing a significant amount of money.

Lawmakers and regulatory agencies worldwide responded by creating new guidelines to increase drug safety. Government and industry officials agree the best available solution is tracking and tracing drugs from production to distribution, through to dispensary or the pharmacy.

The key to reaching this goal is serialisation and track-and-trace, which is the distinct identification of the smallest packaging unit with a unique identification number.

In countries such as Turkey, India, China and Argentina, regulators are calling for drugs to be serialised. Other markets will be following suit in the future including South Korea, Brazil, the US and the EU.

Requirements and serialisation guidelines are specific to individual countries, which means pharmaceutical companies that operate on an international level need flexible solutions to meet these requirements.

Vetter offers various options for the serialisation of drugs, which include making available different serial number and code formats, interfaces and reports or various aggregation depths.

National differences must be taken into account such as South Korea, which expects serialisation to be included on the item level by 2015, while China has different methods of improving drug safety.

Vetter managing director Thomas Otto said: "Our serialisation service allows for unique identification of the unit level and transportation packaging.

"We are providing a flexible response to the stricter demands of official agencies, while at the same time actively contributing to greater drug safety."