Packaging Innovation
Using diamond dust in pharmaceutical packaging
October 5, 2015

Diamonds are pharmaceutical packaging’s best friend

Counterfeiting is a worldwide problem. Not only does it damage the reputation of all kinds of brands and businesses while stealing a big chunk out of their revenue, it also poses a serious threat to the safety of consumers. This is particularly true in the pharmaceutical industry. According to the World Health Organization, the number of counterfeit drugs in circulation is on the rise, accounting for $431 billion in sales in the last few years. Vice President of Pfizer Hugh Donnelly even claims that more tablets are counterfeited than stolen. Hoping to eliminate the counterfeiting crisis, the pharmaceutical industry turns to packaging design

Staying ahead of the counterfeiting game

While counterfeit protection technologies such as serialization, color-coding and imprinting methods used to be the bees knees, today’s counterfeiters have caught up with those technologies and can easily replicate them. In a bid to stay ahead of the counterfeiting game, researchers are now exploring the use of adding diamond dust to drugs and packaging materials as an authentication tool for pharmaceutical companies.

Pharmaceutical packaging with a sparkle

Since diamonds consist of carbon, diamond dust can be added to drugs without posing a threat to the consumer’s health – and it can be added to labels and other packaging materials just as easily. A small amount of diamond dust is mixed into the ink without affecting the ink’s color or consistency. The labels and packaging materials are then printed as usual – no specialized equipment or additional artwork required.

Different wavelengths

So how does this avant-garde authentication process work? It’s actually ingeniously simple: when drugs or packaging containing diamond dust are exposed to certain light waves, the diamond dust emits a unique spectral signature that is impossible to duplicate. Even the slightest trace of diamond dust causes the spectral signature to occur, making it possible for a specially designed scanner to verify the authenticity of the drug in a heartbeat.