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Products are created by brand owners and handed to third parties (contract manufacturer, shipping company, distributor…) for delivery to merchants for later sale to consumers. These products can range from commodity items (e.g., flour) to limited quantity “luxury” items (e.g., designer handbags) to one-of-a-kind items (e.g., original artwork). Counterfeit products are often created and sold as the “real thing.” Counterfeits leverage the original brand but generally have less overhead due to some combination of lower quality, reduced marketing expenses, reduced support costs and/or reduced corporate expenses (ranging from lower labor costs to failure to pay tariffs).
The three main parties (brand owner, merchant and consumer) are affected differently by the distribution of counterfeits. Consumers either willingly purchase counterfeits at a lower cost or are tricked into buying a counterfeit thinking they are getting authentic merchandise. In the former case they are generally happy, at least initially. The latter case, in some instances, may have little effect, i.e., the consumer may have overpaid for an item. However, more damaging effects may be realized if the product malfunctions. These effects can range from lack of recourse (since the product is not covered by the warranty of the brand owner or manufacturer) to physical harm in the case of food, prescription drugs, mechanical equipment, etc. Merchants and third parties may unknowingly or willingly participate in the distribution of counterfeit products. Brand owners suffer both hard (decreased profit) and soft (brand erosion) losses from counterfeit products.
This research work describes a system that enables brand owners, merchants and consumers to verify the authenticity of a product. It analyzes the different avenues of attack and presents three potential implementations of the system based upon the motivation of the participants and the cost of implementation. The research assumes the reader is acquainted with the production and distribution of counterfeit products.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The major and core issue that gave rise to this research work, is on the fact that most of the pharmaceutical drug users seek to use original product but because fake of counterfeit drugs now, do not let one differentiate from the original anymore, and the process of verifying a product currently is not encouraging because it will take much time and before then, the ill person is supposed to take his medication, which is to say that the verification process is slow and not reliable as sometimes you don’t get thee feedback at all. This issue is what the research seek to resolve by developing a secure and reliable system that can function better than the previous one.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The basic objective of the project is to provide simpler means to the consumer and regulatory agencies for establishing drug authentication and protect the consumers’ health and life safety. In achieving the objective, following goals have been set:
Web based portal enabling the citizens to check the authenticity of the drugs online, and the existence of pharmaceutical company in the country.
Tracking and tracing of the drug where manufactured to ensure the reliable supply of drugs to consumers for patient safety and brand protection of manufacturer as well as nation,
The information like Name of Drug, Name of Manufacturer, Batch number, Date of manufacturing, Date of expiry, Usage of drug (optional) and Composition of drug (optional), to be provided online to the consumer,
Provide necessary support to the regulatory agencies in prevention of counterfeiting, fraud and illegal sale of drugs.
1.4 Significance of the Study
This study will present in a precise manner, the importance of drugs validity and authenticity to our health. It is believed that if this research wok in full implemented will help reduce the rate of counterfeit in drugs production and uses among individual. It is also expected that the study will benefit the manufacturers of this drugs that is the original company and industry because they will have more sales as the citizens will go for the original one and the fake will have no sales in the market anymore.
The software developed from this study will be useful to the end users or the customers in helping them to verify the drugs they buy for medication. It is expected that the findings will expose the fake drug sellers in the market and they production companies. By this exposure, the pharmaceutical industry will learn more and stand by manufacturing quality products. It is possible that by this outcome the fake pharmaceutical industries will realistically adjust to the standard of production approved by the world Health Organization (WHO).
Subsequently, it will go a long way to enhance the computer science students’ effectiveness in the society by being capable of carrying out what they have learned, thereby contributing to the building up of the society at the local, national and international levels.
The research will also be beneficial to the researcher. This is because the study will expose the researcher to so many related areas in the course of carrying out his research. This will enhance the researcher’s experience, knowledge and understanding on real live application and solution solving techniques.
1.5 Scope of the study
The Drug verification system and authentication system project is an initiative of the researcher to ensure the genuineness and authenticity of the drugs used within the country imported from any part of the country to ours (Nigeria) basically imported from India and for citizens in the domestic market. The project covers all the drugs sold in our country Nigeria.
1.6 Limitation of the Study
The challenges of implementing this system and its cost are details below.
- a) Diversity of Pharmaceutical Industry
Nigerian Pharmaceutical drugs comes mostly from the Indian Pharma industry, having more than 20,000 registered units which are highly fragmented with severe price competition and government price control. There are approximately 250 large units and more than 8,000 small and medium scale units, which form the core of the Pharmaceutical industry in India. The large units are highly qualified technically as well as professionally. On the other hand, the medium and small manufacturers will not afford to implement this system a drug verification information system (DVI system). So this will be a core challenge to the implementation of this system.
- b) Implementation of method for unique identification of the product
There are various active and passive technologies available like RFID, 1D or 2D Bar Codes, Hologram, Forensic taggants – Optical taggants , Micro-particle taggants (nano taggants) etc. To implement a robust and effective solution to achieve both objectives ‘Drug Authentication’ and ‘Verification’, there was a need of globally accepted solution for uniquely identification of the product which is easily accessible, less space consuming for printing and cost effective for its all three levels of packaging namely Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. Primary is the package which is in direct physical contact with the active ingredient, Secondary is the carton containing one or more primary packs including a mono carton containing one primary pack and Tertiary means a shipper containing one or more secondary packs.
- c) Financial Implications and over heads for the manufacturers
The financial implications and investment for the implementation of the system was major concern of the Pharma Industry specially for small and medium scale manufacturers in the country.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Database: A collection of logically related data to meet the information need of organization.
Web: Online platform for accessing of web pages/information.
DBMS: Database Management Software that enable the user to define, maintain Control the database.
Application Program; A computer program that interacts with the database.
MENU: This is a list of options presented on the screen with each option identified by short code followed by longer description of its purposes.
Drug: It is referred to as a medicine or chemical substances that are administered to Patients for curative measures.
Pharmacy: A placed in a hospital where medicine or chemical substances are kept, stored and prepared.
Flowchart: A diagram that shows connection between the different stages of process of the system.
Relation; A relation is a named table with columns and rows Attribute; An attributes is a named column of a relation Domain; A set of allowable values for one or more table
Database design: The process of creating a design that will support emprise mission statement and mission required database e system.
Software: These are program for computer which allows certain specific task to be accomplished e.g. word process etc.
Hardware: Computer equipment used to perform input processing and system output activates.
Management information system: collection of people, database, and devices produced to use in providing routine information to manager and decision makers of the organization.
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