In an industry first, Flying Null has adapted its electromagnetic identification tagging technology to combat pharmaceuticals counterfeiting in blister packs.

Having recently launched what it believes to be the thinnest, remotely readable tagging material at 3 microns thick, the Cambridge-based company is incorporating the EMID transfer material into blister packs following trials with a leading global pharmaceutical manufacturer.

According to the World Health Organisation, counterfeiting affects 7% of the global supply of pharmaceuticals – mainly tablets and capsules.

Flying Null was approached for a solution that would allow the manufacturer to check that the right drugs were being sold in the right packs without having to break open seals.

Traditional barcodes have not been readable through packaging materials. The patented EMID solution overcomes this problem as it can be read with a handheld scanner through non-magnetic materials of up to 100 microns thick. Embedded during manufacture between plastics and aluminium layers, the tag is linked to a barcode on the exterior packaging to create a unique encrypted identity for the pack as a whole.

The tags can be used for track and trace purposes to combat grey market diversion and for warranty and liability claims.

Flying Null says that its solution is 10% of the cost of RFID tags – the only other solution that can offer this advanced level of tagging. However, unlike EMID, it still runs the risk of corruption.