Advertisements and hoardings displaying heavy discounts instantly grab our attention and if it’s a cosmetic brand then the chances are quite high. Ladies tend to swarm cosmetic shops to get the best products at slashed prices and men also don’t stay behind to get their favourite grooming products. However, what they might know is that the product can be a counterfeit. Market experts have revealed that there is a close link between discounted cosmetics and counterfeiting. It’s a deceitful tactic adopted by counterfeiters to create an enticement of discounted cosmetics that are generally a costly affair.
Fake cosmetics not only infringe property rights but also wreak a havoc on the health of the consumers. According to FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) counterfeiting in the cosmetics and pharmaceuticals sector is dangerous for brands and customers. Early last year, the Food and Drug Administration agency (FDA) busted a long-standing fake cosmetics racket where local shops in Mumbai were creating spurious knockoffs of L’Oreal, Lakme, Revlon, Olay, Elle 18, Nivea, etc.
Rise of counterfeit markets leads to a tarnished brand image. Fake products attract unsuspecting customers due to the import tag and pricing. Heavy discounts generally become the USP of these products.
A senior industry expert told us that businesses can benefit immediately if government takes steps to refine the current intellectual property regulations and ensure they are strictly implemented. The government should also improve enforcement mechanism by reviewing the current laws against IP violations.
There is no denying the fact that counterfeiters will pose a challenge to brands but at the same time, they pose different health risks which are quite frightening in nature. Let’s discuss some of them.
1.Lead poisoning: Fake cosmetics can have high content of lead which after regular use can build up in the body. Lead poisoning in human body can cause memory loss, joint pain, muscle pain, and headaches. In pregnant women, the risk is much higher which can often lead to miscarriage and premature birth.
2.Allergy: When counterfeiters mix different chemicals to get the desired looking product they do not care about its implications. The fake product often leads to serious allergies of the skin and even permanent scarring.
3.Bacteria contamination: A counterfeit cosmetic is not made in a hygienic environment of a factory but is rather manufactured in damp basements, filthy small factories and back rooms. This increases the chance of bacterial contamination which is further transmitted to the consumer. One such bacteria detected in fake cosmetics is the E Coli bacteria which causes stomach and urinary infections.
4.Arsenic: Studies have shown that counterfeit brands contain high amount of arsenic which can lead to shock, abdominal pain and even death.
5.Eye infections: There have been frequent reports of eye infection and blurry vision post application of fake eyeshadows and liners.