Why will it be necessary for COVID-19 vaccines and medicines to have an anti-counterfeiting solution?

The COVID-19 situation is getting out of control in most areas of the world and many countries are struggling to manage the 2nd wave. Currently, there is high demand for medications and treatments that ease the symptoms of the virus. It is a certainty that any vaccine against the virus will be in high demand once released. With high demand comes the opportunity for criminal elements to take advantage of a chaotic and desperate market. It is therefore of the upmost importance to think how we can protect these products against issues such as counterfeiting.

It is for this reason that AlpVision has decided to offer the Cryptoglyph® to protect COVID-19 relevant products to pharmaceutical companies free of charge.

COVID-19 originated in the Hubei province of China at the end of 2019. It is exact proximal origin is unknown. Within a three-month period, the virus spread rapidly throughout the world. The United States, Brazil, China and India have been particularly affected by this coronavirus pandemic and continue to show the highest number of cases. Despite strict regulations, put in place by governments attempting to fight the virus, the worst hit nations are currently experiencing a second wave.

Strategies of confinement and rules surrounding the wearing of masks have been seen in the vast majority of countries. An interesting side effect of this general rise of hygiene standards, caused by the pandemic, has been a decrease in the number cases of other viruses and diseases.

However, this virus has not only wreaked havoc on health systems the world over but also the global economy. Primarily, it was China’s economy that exposed the world to the economic consequences of total lockdown. With the Hubei province being a hub of Chinese manufacturing, a sudden ceasing of production has seen an economic domino effect which will be felt for years to come. Indeed, the lockdowns that followed in countries such has France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Switzerland have seen many businesses struggle, some being forced to close for good. This has had a dramatic effect on unemployment figures and the path to economic economy seems to be a long one.

At the time of writing, no vaccines have been approved. Pharmaceutical companies are currently implementing clinical trials for possible vaccines and medicines. According to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, more than one hundred COVID-19 are currently under development. For a vaccine to be safely released on to the market, they must follow four key phases. Currently, the majority of them are in phase two and three.

The clinical tests to evaluate a vaccine is split into 4 key phases.

Phase n°1
The vaccine is tested on approximately ten volunteers. They then evaluate the reactions and potential side effects.

Phase n°2
Around one hundred people worldwide will receive a dose of this experimental drug. The effects are evaluated during several months in order to check the evolution of this substance in the blood and the antibody level.

Phase n°3
More than one hundred volunteers are tested it in order to know the ability to fight against the disease. The cure is almost finalized. Thanks to this large scale testing, the drug developers can find any side effect of the effectivity of the drug.

Phase n°4
The vaccine is commercialized and made available for the public. The researches continue to monitor the sale and effect of the drug to make sure there are no unknown side effects that become apparent post production.

Currently, most researchers are focused on creating a vaccine to fight COVID-19, as opposed to creating a medicinal formula to eradicate the virus completely. This does not mean that a vaccine will be inefficient in stopping the spread of the virus.

Some off the shelf drugs, such as ibuprofen, have been known to aggravate the virus. Other anti-inflammatory medicines and cortisone derivatives can be added to this list.

During this challenging time, AlpVision are determined to ensure that by using their technologies, drugs and vaccines used in the treatment of COVID-19 will be protected from counterfeiting. With already a large number of partners within the pharmaceutical industry, they believe it is time to work together in the eradication of the virus.



For the past 20 years, AlpVision has grown to be one of the world’s leading producers of anti-counterfeiting technologies. Their solutions are invisible and simple to use, being detectable by a smartphone application. Working largely within areas of pharmaceutical, governmental, automobile lubricant, tobacco, wine and spirits and precious metals, the solutions are applicable to a wide variety of items. These include packaging and labelling, plastic and molded or stamped products. AlpVision is proud to own all the intellectual property of their products. This company now owns more than 80 patents with over 30 billion products protected per year. Their solutions have never been counterfeited and are commercialized worldwide under licensed agreement as entirely customizable turnkey computerized systems.



The pharmaceutical industry ranks highly in the industries most effected by counterfeit products. According to the Swiss newspaper, Le Temps, the countries which are the most impacted by counterfeit products are the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Brand protection is therefore a necessity for this field. Currently, the European Union and law enforcement are trying and some international initiatives have been put in place. For instance, Operation Pangea is being coordinated by Interpol to stop the illicit online trade of pharmaceutical products and prevent the risks linked to the consumption of counterfeit medicines.

Despite this, the pandemic people have already fallen victim to complex scams related to COVID-19, including fake vaccines and telephone phishing. There have been instances of the families of victims of the virus being called by criminals who then request payment to help sick relatives. These criminals then request information and payments by sending emails with malware links. In other instances, counterfeit medicines supposed to fight the virus have been distributed in Africa thanks to market failures.

Therefore we must ask: Why is brand protection important, especially in the pharmaceutical market? A good brand protection strategy can help reduce the costs induced by counterfeiting and can therefore be considered as an asset instead of as a cost. Foremost, if one brand is known to have been counterfeited, the customer would simply prefer to change the medicine as opposed to seeking out the genuine article. Ultimately, this reduces revenue. Secondly, it is now a legal requirement in many countries to fit pharmaceutical products with authentication technology. The implementation of the technology, creates a safer product and market. More importantly, it allows consumers to buy products with confidence.

Several covert and overt anti-counterfeiting solutions are available. Some, such as a hologram, QR code, RFID chip or a special ink, could be applied on the packaging. Others, like the fingerprint can be applied on the product itself.

In order to find the best security feature, it is necessary for the brand owners to ask the right questions.

  • Should they protect the packaging or the product?
  • Which is better, a covert or an overt solution?
  • Is the authentication available for the customer or only for internal company use?
  • Would they like a track and trace or a block chain system included?
  • Finally, what can the company budget for protecting their product?

The pricing is generally too expensive for the choice of a technology.



AlpVision has developed some of the world’s greatest anti-counterfeiting technologies. One of their most popular solutions is called Cryptoglyph®. The principle is pretty simple, some invisible micro-defects will be added on the varnish layer in the entire surface of the printed products. An Android or IOS smartphone application is then able to detect the authenticity of the product.



The integration of the Cryptoglyph® do not require special training. Moreover, the printing process and the speed of production will not be impacted. Non-intrusive and totally invisible, this solution is integrated during the regular overprinting of varnish and the standard printing processes like flexography and rotogravure. Digitally encoded within the artwork and easily integrated into any existing blister, packaging or label printing process with no production cost.



AlpVision will generate a bitmap which is then integrated into the artwork file of the brand owner. Usually, the document will be sent to the printer and the plates will be created. The micro holes will be automatically generated by the machine which create the plates like any other varnish-free area.



There are many benefits to this solution and for the existing packaging. First of all, the solution is invisible to the human eye, challenging to copy, and maintains the same manufacturing process (ink and varnish). It is well suited for high-speed production and at large volumes. Its other advantages include its industrially proven solution which already protects billion of products each year. It can be deployed easily across many printing suppliers and finally, it is resistant against scratching.



The authentication feature is optimal, tracking and storing data that will further help your company’s analytics. After each detection, the smartphone app will automatically report the authentication to a website which collects important information even if the detection has been done offline. This interface is called Brand Monitoring System – BMS and provides a lightweight, centralized, and real-time server which collects, prepares and presents global authentication statistics. Therefore, the brand owner will be able to easily monitor the location, which product is being used, when it is being used and the authentication result. Not only this the app also provides reference images…



AlpVision is well aware of the risks presented by the counterfeiting of pharmaceutical products. As a company committed tho drug safety, they are proud to announce the launch of their “COVID-19 Initiative” scheme. They hope that with this scheme, the pharmaceutical community can work together to prevent the spread of counterfeit COVID-19 related medicines and products. The following services will be provided gratuitously by AlpVision for successful applicants:

  • Training on solution deployment
  • The bitmap of the Cryptoglyph® will be distributed to one of your pharmaceutical relevant products
  • Qualification and training for 1 folding box / label supplier
  • Lend/Access to quality control tool to printer during the pandemic
  • An application will be prepared and distributed only with iOS
  • The ability to monitor each authentication activity with the Brand Monitoring System
  • The authentication should be made only by internal users

From your side, a product should be selected in order to secure it. AlpVision will inform the printer on your decision. Afterwards, a rollout from the system and authentication application will be take place. Finally, an agreement should be signed by both parties.

This process, from the moment you take the decision to participate in the initiate, to the point you have your first secured products, does not take more than 2 months.

Several terms & conditions would be in place.

  • This offer will be available between November 1st, 2020, and January 31st, 2021
  • AlpVision is allowed to refuse any application without a reason
  • Company who have been approved have the right to secure only one selected product free of charge until the COVID-19 pandemic is officially declared as finished by the WHO.
  • Existing customers are not eligible for a reduction of current licenses, however, no license increase will apply if the scope is extended to COVID-19 relevant products
  • All costs not directly occurring by AlpVision have to be carried by the participant
  • There will be no obligation to publicly communicate the participation in the initiative

Interested to know more about our offer? Do not hesitate to contact us by the form below. We would be glad to answer questions you may have.

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