Pharma counterfeits scene in India and global abysmal, risks patient health & revenue loss for genuine manufacturers

Nandita Vijay, BengaluruThursday, November 10, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Pharma counterfeit scene in India and global markets is abysmal and is out of control. False pharmaceutical drug cartels have operated in nearly every impoverished and developing country. Even though India has long since shed the label of a poor country, fraudulent traders persist, said Lokesh Harjani, founder & CEO, OnSpot Solutions.
India is still price-conscious so any critically required medicine invites crooks to counterfeit the goods and convince credulous and foolish buyers too willingly. With use of smartphones traffickers are on the rise and thriving across the country like never before, he added.
Pharmaceutical counterfeiting has become a widespread and sophisticated global business in recent years. It also accounts for a significant portion of international trade. The primary challenge, particularly in developing and less developed countries, is financial gain by counterfeiters. Another challenge is the continued flourishing of unscrupulous suppliers and operators, who not only compromise the quality of care for patients in the country but also endanger people's health and lives. At the same time, there is a loss of revenue for genuine manufacturers and, therefore, the public exchequer too, said Harjani.

Several advancements in digital technology are now available to counterbalance counterfeiting. In fact, digital anti-counterfeit measures are making it more and more difficult for counterfeiters. Some of the popular technologies which can work at the supply chain level at the same time reduce the costs of operation are, bar code/QR code which becomes very difficult for fraudsters to copy & also one of the preferred tools for brand protection in almost all industries. Lastly, Smart labels, have become quite popular as they enable an IoT ecosystem – with maximum benefit to customers & partners, Harjani told Pharmabiz.
Comprehending the shocking scenario, the Union government has made effective strides to ensure that the population has a practical and easy tool to fight against fake medicines and has mandated and enforced from January 2023 the need for authentication with QR codes on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) which are manufactured in India or imported and distributed, to facilitate tracking and tracing of the products in the supply chain. “These are applicable both for imports as well as domestic manufacturers. The Government of India is binding up the entire pharma chain, from APIs to final formulations, in the hand of the consumer,” said Harjani.
Counterfeits apply to all pharmaceutical segments and are not restricted to specific types of medicines. . Because of increased demand in healthcare and supplements, protein supplements, hair care products, and medicinal supplements have seen a very high rate of counterfeiting, he noted.
Onspot Solutions' cloud-based digital platform is an effective tool in fighting against counterfeiting. The company is actively involved with several pharmaceutical brands and is experiencing a high level of interaction with brands looking to implement anti-counterfeiting and track and trace technology for their businesses. We have an aggressive roadmap and are developing several new technologies to combat pharma counterfeits in India, said Harjani.