New report on global pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting technologies

A new report on global pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting technologies has been released which covers many aspects like forecast, status, market size and trends. The report also mentions the complete information about market players, growth scenarios and the prominent market drivers. The report is segmented according to markets, types, regions and applications.

Anti-duplication technology plays an important role in the identification of counterfeit drugs. Duplicate drugs may include spurious ingredients or adulterants in wrong proportions. Duplication can take place in both generic and branded products. It’s well known that fake drugs pose serious health risks and may lead to imminent or long-term effects. Global pharmaceutical anti-duplication solutions are being used widely as Governments world over have become serious to stop counterfeiting of medicines. Technological advancements in anti-counterfeiting technology will further boost the pharmaceutical market.

The main reasons for the rise of counterfeit drugs are lack of awareness, poor monitoring of supply chains and weak regulations. Developed countries like the USA have implemented RFID (radio-frequency identification) while the European countries believe in the 2D barcodes. The developing nations like India are sensitized about the extent of the problem and have formulated rules mandating barcodes. Even the pharmaceutical companies have got serious and are employing Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting Technologies in order to eliminate the illegitimate drugs in their supply chain.

While most American companies have implemented RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) their European counterparts still rely on barcodes. Developing countries have assessed the criticality of the situation and have laid down rules related to the same. Pharmaceutical companies in India are implementing different anti-counterfeiting technology to battle duplication.

 

The challenges posed by evil of counterfeit medicines in India

You take an antacid pill but, it doesn’t settle your heartburn. Your wife’s anti-allergic medicines are not curing her skin allergies, or your mother still complains of back pain, despite taking her medicines on time. Situations like these have become a common spectacle in India. It simply means that medicines are not working against diseases or most medicines you are consuming in everyday life are fake or counterfeit.

Fake medicines have deeply penetrated into the Indian pharmaceutical market. Such dubious medicines can be found anywhere i.e. from government pharmacies to big pharma stores, local drug store to small shops. People are highly susceptible to counterfeit or fake medicines due to lack of awareness and poor monitoring of drug supply chains.

A recent report by WHO (World Health Organisation) states that one in ten medical products circulating in third world countries are either of low quality or are fake. These medicines not only fail to treat diseases but can also lead to serious diseases.

The Department of Food Safety and Drug Administration says that 10 % of the duplicate drugs have been introduced into the India pharma market whereas, 38 % are of subpar quality, which do not work at all. The above stated figures point towards a worrisome situation in which it has become difficult to find an original medicine with ease. Let’s discuss some of the challenges posed by counterfeit medicines.

1.Hampers business growth of Pharma companies: It has been experienced time and again that counterfeits can lead to huge business loss and gradual shrinking of the market share of real credible pharmaceutical companies. According to reports fake medicines lead to an annual loss of $46 billion annually for pharma companies worldwide.

2.Blocks the use and promotion of low-cost generics: Almost 90 % of the India’s drug market is dominated by branded generics. To promote the use of less expensive branded generic medicines government is taking various measures but, the circulation of fake drugs blocks its promotion and sale. This is because a medicine earns a bad reputation due to its counterfeiting.

3.Increased pressure on national health and economy: The use of counterfeit medicines increases unnecessary costs on public health. This is due to their unwanted side effects which leads to host of other health complications and diseases subsequently creating a vicious circle.

4.Extra cost for resources: To tackle the issue of counterfeits government has created many regulatory bodies but, has failed to counter the problem due to lack of manpower, for more human resources increase in costs are quite evident. For instance, India’s Central Drugs Standard Organization which is country’s drug regulator had just 233 employees in 2014. In order to increase the strength of employees will bring an extra burden on the government in form of increased expenditures.

Blockchain technology secures pharmaceutical supply chains in US and EU

It’s not unusual that counterfeiting has infested the pharmaceutical industry on a large scale. Fake medicines often make their way into the sector at different phases of the supply chain.  It’s a cause of concern for governments, pharmaceutical companies, and patients alike. As a result, governments across the world are working on implementing regulations to make the drug supply chain more traceable and trustworthy. Duplication of medicines is a cause of concern for governments, manufacturers and most importantly patients.

The US Drug Supply Chain Security Act will be implemented soon. The act lays down strict rules for pharmaceutical tracking, tracing, authentication and numbering. On the other hand, FMD (Falsified Medicines Directive) laid down by EU (European Union) also highlights similar rules that will be implemented in the coming year. The implementation of stringent rules to make drug sector free from counterfeiting is a great move but, compliance to the same is a major challenge.

Blockchain technology is known for tracking and serialization. Due to these two features, big drug companies like Merck and Pfizer have incorporated blockchain to sync with new drug laws in the US and EU. Over the past few years, blockchain has moved into new industries apart from banking and financial sector. Blockchain technology is being implemented in different industries and will prove to be revolutionary for the pharmaceutical sector.

The technology creates a decentralized ledger that allows the creation of a single database with permanent records. This cannot be changed or manipulated by companies, distributors, stockists and other stakeholders. The system makes it easy to trace the origination of the drug, where it was distributed, sold and purchased thus making the entire process transparent and secure.

 

Artificial Intelligence- the next big thing against counterfeiting!

It’s not unusual to find counterfeit products in India. Street shops, magnanimous supermarkets, shopping hubs and even flea markets are flooded with all kinds of fake items. With deep penetration of internet, counterfeiting has spread its tentacles to online shopping as well. As technology becomes more accessible, counterfeiters are leaving no stone unturned to make strikingly similar copies of some of the best products in the world. At the same time, techies and anti-counterfeiting experts are utilising technology to develop impactful solutions against duplication.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is one such game-changing technology which is bringing a revolutionary change in the way we fight counterfeiting. AI is developed to simulate most traits of human intelligence. It is a branch of computer science which aims at equipping machines with intelligence like us or it would be better to say that it makes machines think, learn, solve complex problems or make decisions like humans.

In the world of rampant counterfeiting different anti-duplication products and solutions are being used which include high-security holograms, barcodes, QR codes, track and trace, RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) including many others. However, most of them have limitations and drawbacks. Amidst this situation, artificial intelligence can play a decisive role in countering duplication.

AI systems are highly capable of analysing and comparing large amounts of databases. This makes them better than humans because they take less time in making comparisons between genuine and fake products besides, they are also affordable when compared to human resources.

Let’s discuss how artificial intelligence has been efficiently implemented in different ways. One of the anti-counterfeiting firms uses GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) based computing and AI to counter fake products. The company works in collaboration with the manufacturers to implement its technology. The manufacturer affixes a traceable paper to the packaging of the product. The consumer uses an app to scan the traceable paper which is sent to the AI. The GPU based AI determines the genuineness of the product in a few seconds. This technology is less costly compared to RFID and helps to trace the product with precision.

Another anti-counterfeiting company uses a special microscopic camera system that captures images of the suspected products and transfers the images to the AI for analysis. The AI cross-checks the received images with its database of images of the original products and completes the authentication process in no time. The company claims to have achieved an accuracy of around 95%.

Due to its precision and cost-effectiveness, AI is being used by companies like Amazon and Alibaba. Of late, Amazon had utilized AI for its brand registry program which will cut down infringements by 99%. Alibaba is also not left behind in the race; the Chinese e-commerce giant has created big data anti-counterfeiting alliance with 20 international brands. It uses AI to detect flaws in product reviews and listings.

The main challenge lies in the implementation of such advanced technologies in India. Many companies in India have implemented QR code, track and trace, RFID and blockchain technology to secure their products from counterfeiting. However, still large number of companies are utilising security labels, security holograms, revenue stamps and other holographic security products which are cost effective and quite easy to implement. Holostik is a pioneer and leader in catering cutting-edge anti-counterfeiting solutions to different industries. The company has a legacy of securing some of the biggest brands and is evolving according to the changing needs of the market.

Satyadeep Ray - Holostik

 

By Satyadeep Ray
Director, Sales & Marketing
Holostik

Major share of milk produced in India is not fit for consumption

Mohan Singh Ahluwalia member of Animal Welfare Board has raised an alarm by saying that 68.7 % of the milk and milk products produced and sold in the country are not according to the standards of FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) and unfit for consumption. He was quoting a report by Ministry of Science and Technology in which it was mentioned that 89.2 per cent of such products are counterfeit. He further said that the common adulterants include detergent, white paint, glucose, caustic soda and refined oil. Counterfeit milk is a growing problem in India.

The production of milk up to March 2018 has been recorded at 14.8 crore litres per day whereas the consumption per capita per day stands at 480 grams. Ahluwalia also added that adulteration in Southern states is less compared to Northern states of India. He also said that due to lack of hygiene and sanitation in handling detergents used in washing containers often get mixed with the milk products.

Besides detergents, adulterants like urea, glucose, starch and formalin are also used to deliberately adulterate milk as they preserve and provide thickness to the milk. We often think that such milk is of optimum quality but the thing is quite different and may impact our health in the long run.

The Animal Welfare Member also said that consuming adulterated milk can cause irreversible damage to the human organs. The WHO organization has issued an advisory according to which if adulteration in milk is not checked properly then a large number of people could suffer from fatal diseases like cancer by the year 2025. In order to make Food Safety and Standards Act more effective a committee has been formed under Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely. The committee will investigate and submit feedback on the grim issue.

 

 

How to spot counterfeit whisky?

According to media reports, imported liquor has witnessed a rise of 20 % annually. This has led to the counterfeiting of liquor on a large scale across the country. Liquor counterfeiters are easily selling adulterated bottles of liquor at different locations in the country. They have also resorted to filling empty bottles of expensive wines and whisky with IMFL (Indian Manufactured Foreign Liquor).

Fake whisky is troublesome for whisky aficionados and manufacturers. It dupes the consumer since its overpriced, ruins their health and damages the brand image of the liquor manufacturers. However, there are certain ways through which you can identify the genuineness of whisky. Let’s discuss some of them.

1.Always try to do a strip search: Forgers usually try to place a tax strip from an old wine bottle to cover up a refill. Always try to feel around the neck for sticky patches which could indicate the presence of an original strip.

2.Fill level could be a big giveaway: The condition of the whisky can be ascertained by the fill level. Some whisky bottles are just filled to the shoulder. It is also a fact that the air space in the bottle can increase with time. Always be suspicious of old whisky bottles with high fill levels.

3.Check the label with a magnifying glass: A home-printed label or packaging will show pixelation when viewed from a magnifying glass. This is an obvious red flag for the product to be a fake.

4.Go through the minute content information: Yes, wrong spellings could be a big sign of fake or counterfeits. Grammatical mistakes, misplaced words or even a faulty punctuation are red signs. Obviously, counterfeiters are not language experts.

5.Look for sediments in the bottle: Old vintage whisky will always have a layer of the sediment at the bottom, particularly those matured in casks. If there is an absence of sediment, then it could be a sign of a counterfeit.

6.Crosscheck attributes of the cap and neck: Try to match the colour, material, ridges and material of the cap with original website. Also, check that the seal or base ring of the cap has been broken or not.

7.Beading check: You can check the whisky by shaking the bottle which will form a ring of bubbles on the top know as beading. The bubble ring or beading formed in the whisky bottle with 30-40 % of alcohol will disappear immediately after few seconds whereas a bottle with alcohol content of 50% will form a beading which would persist even after 20-30 seconds. This can be further cross-checked with the label for any discrepancies.

8.Look closely at the labels: Older labels are easily removed and glued to another bottle. Feel along the edges of the label for recently applied adhesives. Pay special attention to chips in the label. On a vintage bottle, a chip won’t leave any glue residue. Labels can be easily removed and applied on a new bottle. Try to feel the edges of the label for the presence of or any trail of adhesives. Irregularities in the pasting of labels are one big sign of a counterfeit whisky bottle.

The above discussed points are quite useful in determining the genuineness of whiskey. However, what should be done in case of other liquor products? The problem of counterfeiting has enveloped a vast share of liquor sector and many liquor brands are using anti-counterfeiting solutions to fight the menace. Holostik is one of the companies which provides cutting-edge anti-counterfeiting solutions to the liquor industry. These products and solutions have time and again helped the liquor industry to counter duplication successfully.

 

New report on holographic market is beneficial for market players

A recent report on holographic anti-counterfeiting market analysis titled ‘Global Holographic Anti-counterfeiting Marks Market 2018’ focuses on the holograms and holographic products with ant-duplication features, product authentication and other aspects. The report aims to help market players in implementing their plan according to the emerging markets and technologies. The report is segmented on the basis of types, applications, regions and key players. The report also covers company profiles, demand, sales margin and gross margin. There is also region wise market analysis.

The report creates awareness among consumers about the growth and penetration of holographic product and the development of advanced products that can boost the market up to the year 2023. The market report was prepared after getting feedback from the industry experts.

The report covers the following key players according to their sales revenue, price, gross margin, main products etc. Holostik (India), Light Logics (India), Lasersec Technologies (India), K Laser (Taiwan), Uflex Limited (India), Polinas (Turkey), Kurz (Germany), Unifoil Corporation (US), Everest Holovisions Limited (India), SRF Limited (India), Spectratek (US), API (UK), Offset Group (Bulgaria), Integraf (US), Zhejiang Jinghua Laser (China), SVG Optronics (China), Jinjia Group (China), Shantou Wanshun (China), Shantou Dongfeng (China), AFC Hologram (China).

The report mentions the risks associated with the prospects in the holographic anti-counterfeiting market. It provides statistics and estimates in support of the same. The report will help new market entrants in evaluating the holographic anti-counterfeiting market. It will help in bringing a level playing competition in the market. The report is an important document for anyone who is part of the holographic anti-counterfeiting industry. It will increase the knowledge of the person who wants to have a thorough understanding of the growing holographic market.

Source: Weekly Journalism

Counterfeit sites

Counterfeit sites are on the prowl- What you must do?

What would the world have looked like if internet never existed? ‘Sluggish’ is one word which comes to our mind along with a host of other downsides. Ranked at the pinnacle of inventions of the 20th century Internet has blessed us with many revolutionary ideas. However, with the passage of time Internet has become a dangerous place. Scams, fake identities, illegal arms business, drug trade, human trafficking and other criminal activities are being managed at the click of a button. There are rising reports of fraudulent activities and amidst this scenario, you must resort to safe browsing. Here is how you can manage it and stay safe from counterfeit websites.

Check the URL: One of the best ways to determine the legitimacy of a website is by checking its URL. Fake websites will visually try to look authentic, but they cannot have the same URL. Generally, they will have a spelling error in the URL, try to spot it.

‘S’ in HTTPS means safe and secure: E-commerce, finance and banking websites are required to have HTTPS protocol. They need to have ‘S’ which stands for secure. Even an authentic website which gives it a miss can easily get hacked, therefore, it is better to look out for the ‘S’ in the URL for a safe transaction. Secure websites will generally have a lock and HTTPS symbol.

 Genuine software will help: Always rely on reliable browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Edge. These browsers have built-in features that will inform you when you are about to visit a fake website. Moreover, antivirus software has extensions for browser that will tell you the authenticity of the website.

Read through the website: If you are interested in buying a product from a website, then it is better to go through its sections. Incorrect English is one of the biggest giveaways of a scam site. Besides, a blank Contact Us page also hints towards a dubious website. Google search ranking also determines the genuineness of a website. Fraud websites will usually have a lower ranking and will not appear on top of the search page compared to an original website.

Check the advertisements: Genuine websites will usually not have a bombardment of ads and popups if such is the case then the website is a scam.

You can use WHO.IS listing: If you want to dig deep down to determine a website’s authenticity, then you can certainly use who.is to determine the website’s owner along with the registered address.

counterfeit food

Fake food – a growing problem in South Africa

Most of the consumers knowingly or unknowingly buy counterfeit goods due to cost or convenience. When it comes to counterfeit food items then the risks are quite high because it has a direct impact on our health. Counterfeit food items are made with cheap ingredients for the purpose of simulation. There is also a health risk with tampered food items in which adulterants are added to achieve profits. In South Africa, a chicken company was accused of carrying out similar practice some years ago but now the situation has become worrisome.

There are allegations that food items have been contaminated with non-food items like plastic, but the Minister of Health has stated that the department has not received any complaints, however, people are becoming ill after consuming the alleged product. The extent of counterfeiting in food market of South Africa has not been properly assessed but the general population thinks that it’s on the rise. However, South Africa was once affected by the largest foodborne disease listeriosis, but it was caused due to non-counterfeit food.

In South Africa, perishable foods have an expiration date after which they cannot be sold. On the other hand, non-perishable food items are printed with ‘best before dates’ -the dates are meant for ensuring quality and not safety. People often buy these products due to low costs. But the problem arises when expiration dates are tampered after which it becomes difficult to check the authenticity of the food item. Expired food items can cause various ailments and even death due to food poisoning. The entire blame for counterfeit food items has been put on alleged cartels and foreigners. South African Government is conducting raids on shops and is seizing fake goods.

Stay safe against duplicates

The problem of counterfeiting or duplication has become ubiquitous. From, millennials to old folks the menace of fake or duplicate products has crept into everybody’s life. Whether its something as simple as a toothpaste or something highly sophisticated as an electronic component used by military counterfeiting has plummeted business growth, tarnished brand image, jeopardized national security and ruined public health. According to Global Brand Counterfeiting Report 2018, “The total amount of counterfeiting globally has reached to 1.2 Trillion USD in 2017 and is bound to reach 1.82 Trillion USD by the year 2020”.

The figures are quite dismaying and reflect a grave problem which is on the rise. Besides many factors, lack of awareness among consumers is a big reason responsible for the growth of counterfeiting. It is quite challenging to stop a consumer who deliberately buys a counterfeit but an innocent consumer who is not aware of the menace can be warded off if he is made aware of some basic points. No doubt, remaining vigilant and staying updated are the best measures to counter duplication. If you are aware of the following seven red flags or signs, then you can prevent yourself from being duped by a counterfeit or a fake product, to a large extent.

1.Unbelievable discounts: For many, it may be quite tempting, but the lure of unrealistic discounts offered online can be no more than a bait. You must assess how much discount is typically available on the branded products. If the discounted price is hard to believe for example 75-85 % of the MRP then the product you are buying has high chances of being a counterfeit.

2.Poor packaging: No brand will ever compromise with packaging. Credible and recognized businesses always spend a considerable amount of money on packaging. If the packaging does not fit properly with the product, is made of cheap raw material or is improperly applied then these could be red flags of a counterfeit product. Similarly, if the product comes without packaging then it also falls in the domain of a duplicate.

3.Mistakes in grammar: Have you ever seen products with brand names such as Adibas, Dolce & Banana, Red Labial or Calein Klvin? Well, these incorrect spellings of some of the most popular brands have become a butt of jokes on social media. Such brand names often attract those customers who are illiterate or are just concerned with the looks of the product. Make it a habit to check the spelling and grammatical mistakes mentioned on the product labels. You can also match the same with the official website of the brand.

 4.Online authenticity: Nowadays, online shopping is bearing the brunt of counterfeiting. If you want to guard yourself against a fake product online, then you must always go for a website with ‘https’ and a lock symbol instead of ‘http’. In addition, you can check the authenticity of a website through the following links: http://tools.weburlopener.com/scam-website-checker and http://www.scamfoo.com.

5.Substandard quality: No wonder, poor quality of a product is a big turnoff and at the same time, it is a sign of a counterfeit. Dull and poor quality of the cloth fabric, fake leather and shabby looking plastic or metallic elements are never used in a branded product. If you have been already using a product of a specific brand for a long time, then you can easily spot a fake.

6.Check the codes, model number, logos etc.: A company prints codes, model numbers, trademark, patent information, logos and many other minute details. A counterfeit will often miss out some of the information while copying. You can easily cross-check such information from the company’s website or the customer care department. As far as logos are concerned they can also be verified with the company’s or brand’s website. A closer introspection will work wonders in identifying a duplicate product.

7.Check the contact details and accessories: Manufacturer’s always print the physical address, phone number, e-mail and other such contact details on the packaging of the product or on the labels. If it’s missing, then it should be a cause of concern and a sign of a possible counterfeit. Also ensure that the product has all the supplementary parts, instruction guide, and accessories mentioned on the package. If anything is missing it may hint towards a counterfeit product. While buying a product from a store open the box and check it properly whereas in case of an online purchase make a video recording of unboxing while receiving the delivery which will serve as proof.

By Ankit Gupta 
Group Director, Holostik Group

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are personal and does not guarantee that each of the points, red flags or methods to determine a counterfeit is completely accurate and may or may not work with different products.