Patient safety communications company Aegate has extended its drug authentication service in Europe to help keep track of pharmaceuticals within the distribution chain.

The operational authentication system will be deployed in pharmacies to trace the path of drugs from the point of dispense to allow authorities to identify when and where a counterfeit drug enters the distribution network.

Verification of the unique machine-readable code will log the medicine’s location, date and time as the product moves through the distribution chain.

The system requires all medicines to contain a unique, randomised machine-readable code, which can be read at required points in the distribution chain, creating an audit trail en-route.

Aegate CEO Gary Noon said that traceability is distinct from authentication as multiple actors within the supply chain must participate.

“Traceability implemented with authentication is a pragmatic, effective and most importantly powerful method for tackling the dangerous growth of counterfeit medicines entering the legal supply chain,” Noon said.

Aegate provides patient safety utilising IT-enabled communications to provide an open channel between pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, regulators and professional organisations.