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    AstraZeneca Introduces Security Seals On Nexium® Packs To Safeguard Patients

AstraZeneca is introducing new technology to safeguard patients and protect its products from threats such as counterfeiting, tampering and illegal diversion. With the launch of the Serialized Authentication Program for NEXIUM®, AstraZeneca will become one of the first pharmaceutical companies to implement a comprehensive system to serialize and authenticate its pharmaceutical products down to the unit-level.

Counterfeiting of medicines is a serious problem with the potential to affect the health and well being of millions of people. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimate that 5 -10 percent of medicines worldwide are counterfeit with recent reports indicating that up to 30 percent of drugs in Southeast Asia and China may be counterfeit. The problem is expected to accelerate at an enormous rate.

AstraZeneca is introducing security features that make it possible to authenticate each pack, thus allowing the Company to monitor genuine packs within the supply chain. The Serialized Authentication Program will be launched for NEXIUM® tablet blister packs next quarter. It consists of two features; A Tamper Evident Security Seal (TESS), and a Unique Carton Number (UCN). The TESS makes sure that any attempt to open or tamper with the contents of a pack will be obvious. The UCN is a 2D data matrix code* that allows any pack to be authenticated at any point through the whole supply chain.

"The Serialized Authentication Program gives AstraZeneca the potential to monitor our supply chain. Furthermore, working with other pharma companies, industry bodies and government agencies, the system will eventually help facilitate the identification or verification of products across the entire supply chain, from the point of manufacture to the point of dispensing," says David Teale, Director of Product Security, AstraZeneca. ''In addition, the Serialized Authentication Program can be combined with other brand protection mechanism for field authentication and tamper evidence''.

AstraZeneca is committed to the investment in computer systems and upgrading of packaging lines to support the Serialized Authentication Programme and this is an important investment in the company's commitment to ensure final product integrity, and safeguard patients.

* In November 2006, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) endorsed serialization using a 2D data matrix as "the most promising solution to fight counterfeiting and diversion threats in Europe and globally".

More information at:

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services. It is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of $26.47 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infection products. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4 Good Index.

Publication Date: 2007-03-08 10:00

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