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Advancement in the use of security labels has helped detecting fake pharmaceutical products, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said. (pix by IQMAL HAQIM ROSMAN)

KUALA LUMPUR: Advancement in the use of security labels has helped detecting fake pharmaceutical products, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said.

In the first 11 months this year the ministry has confiscated 43,207 units of unauthorised and fake pharmaceutical products valued at RM75.4 million, an increase compared to 39,247 units valued at RM54.9 million the whole of last year.

Subramaniam said the increase in the number of confiscated products were due to the introduction of the Meditag holographic security labels which was made compulsory for all pharmaceutical products.

“Before the security labels were introduced back in 2005, field pharmacies officer had a tough time checking the status of each health products.

“This is because registration number and barcode of products were easily being duplicated and that the ministry has lack technologies that can be used to check on the authenticity of each product,” he said during the launch of Meditag 4, a security hologram with enhanced security features to be used by the ministry.

His speech was read by the ministry’s secretary general Datuk Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min.

Subramaniam said the usage of Meditag label is among efforts taken to combat growing concerns on the authenticity of pharmaceutical products in the market.

Forensic Pharmacy Ministry of Health deputy director Mazlan Ismail said the primary aim of Meditag 4 allows the consumer to get faster verification.

“Version 4 of Meditag incorporates cutting-edge technology including the latest development in Diffractive Optically Variable Image Devices (DOVID) with a data matrix for easy verification.

“Consumers only need to download the free Meditag Checker app on their android and iPhones devices and scan the Meditag 4 label using the QR code feature to verify its authenticity,” he said.

“We have a social and moral imperative to ensure that pharmaceutical products sold in Malaysia are of high quality, effective and safe for consumption.

Mazlan added that this version of Meditag will allow for swift enforcement in handling cases of counterfeit products as consumers can directly report any counterfeit products they encountered. With Meditag 4,the industry can also explore the track-and-trace technology which is built into the device.

The Meditag initiative, which was launched in 2005, make it a compulsary for all pharmaceutical products to be registered with the Health Ministry Drug Control Authority (DCA) and to display the holographic security label.

The authority also assigns a registration number that must be printed on the label or product package.

Also present were Mediharta Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Dr. Mohd Nordin Mohd Nor, Pharmaceutical Services Office, Ministry of Health senior director Dr Salmah Bahri, Pharmacy Practice and Development director Dr. Kamaruzaman bin Salleh, Pharmacy Board Malaysia director Mohd Yunos bin Shaari, Mediharta Sdn Bhd finance director Datuk Sandra Wong and Mediharta Sdn Bhd managing director Dr Andreas Teoh.

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