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How Security Seals Can Help The Pharmaceutical Industry Prevent Loss
Apr 27, 2018

According to the Transported Asset Protection Association, pharmaceuticals are one of the most valuable types of cargo stolen today with the average loss value rising. Notable are the methods of theft to obtain pharmaceuticals.One of the most utilized methods of theft is pilferage, with the pharmaceutical industry having one of the highest rates of pilferage with any single product type at 26% in 2016. Pharmaceuticals are cost dense and large profits can be had with relatively small scale thefts such as pilferage. In addition, pilferage can also serve as an advanced intelligence gathering method for criminals. This allows for verification of the suspected contents of a load as well as determining if any security countermeasures are in place.

In the pharmaceutical industry, the cost of loss goes beyond retail value. According to the insurance company Chubb, the retail value of the stolen product is only part of the story.In addition to these major indirect costs, the results of shortage or compromised product in the healthcare marketplace can cause added costs. In fact, 65 percent of all drug shortages are caused by manufacturing and quality issues, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

What can be done by pharmaceutical manufacturers to prevent loss and contamination of products?A layered security approach that is effective at all stages of the supply chain and manufacturing process is best.Continuously audit processes from end to end and work to put in place ways to see what can be improved upon.

Using different types of security seals throughout the manufacturing process can improve controls and establish a secure chain of custody. For both raw materials and finished goods, the tagging of drums, bins, and bags increases traceability and accountability. Nylon ingredient bags are often sealed with our Secure-Grip or Ultra Bag Strap both of which have teeth built into the that prevent them from slipping off bags.For applications on drums, many end-users use a cable seal or a plastic padlock to secure the bolt and ring closure on the drum, feeding the cable through the aperture to prevent tampering.The seals can use a number of different metals for their bodies but the most common are zinc and aluminum with an attached steel cable.Depending on each application, government regulations can dictate the need for specific diameters, lengths, or composition of the seals. The use of numbered security seals adds an additional layer of security. The unique and sequential numbered seals can be logged to safeguard against tampering.