For West Pharmaceutical Services, a redesigned plastic bottle cap is the latest weapon against drug counterfeiting.
The Lionville, Pa., firm has developed a new cap that it said will help pharmaceutical manufacturers combat drug counterfeiting by letting them better brand their caps and giving them an unobstructed, matte surface for inks that can be read under ultraviolet light.
The cap is designed to be expensive for counterfeiters to duplicate, said Brian Brucker, a customer technical support repre- sentative. Brucker was interviewed at the Medical Design and Manufacturing East show, held June 4-6 in New York.
``For somebody counterfeiting, they are trying to make a quick buck,'' he said. ``This will make it a little more difficult.''
The packaging is targeted at expensive liquid or powder drugs, such as biotech-based drugs, that are delivered in vials.
It is unlikely that consumer drugs would be packaged with the cap, which is part of a product line West calls its Decoration-Identification-Differentiation system. The DID system also includes aluminum seals that combine a metal shell with a plastic cap.
The redesign of the cap is key, the company said. West changed its decades-old mold design to gate the cap on the inside, through the mold core, which allows for the flat surface for better printing on top, according to Robert Buck, product development manager for West's injection molding plant in Montgomery, Pa.
Gating on the bottom made it harder to cool the part, but the company was able to compensate and actually decrease cycle time by 25 percent, Buck said. The old mold design had a gate vestige in the center of the cap, Brucker said. ``Now it really opens up the range of what we are able to put on the surface,'' he said.
West said some estimates claim that as much as 40 percent of the pharmaceuticals in the developing world are counterfeit. West cited a World Health Organization study of counterfeit drugs that found that 16 percent contained incorrect ingredients, 17 percent had the wrong amounts of ingredients and 60 percent had no active ingredients.