We all know what counterfeits are- fake, cheap quality lookalikes of branded products intended to fool the buyers into thinking they are genuine. Counterfeiting is one of the major challenges grappling the world economy today causing a havoc to the world economy (it’s a $250 billion per annum industry!) as well as to businesses and the consumers using these products. The ramifications for counterfeiting are also massive for governments, as counterfeiting fuels the hand of organised crime. As such, it has become imperative for us to understand why counterfeiting takes place and what are the different methods to curb this billion-dollar problem.
A layman’s understanding and awareness of counterfeit products stretches from fake designer handbags and watches to mock paintings, but that notion is not just flawed but a far cry from the truth. In the real world, the implications of buying counterfeits are much starker than someone identifying that your designer watch is a first-copy. Take the 2008 Chinese milk scandal, for example. Thousands of babies in China become sick after consuming an infected baby formula which contained melamine, an ingredient found in plastic bags. The ingredient was added to milk to increase its protein rating in case it was tested for being fake or containing water. This then led to a worldwide scare, with people from different neighbouring countries of China fearing if the contaminated milk has made it to their country as well.
One of the most deadly cases involving counterfeiting was the Partnair Flight 394 case of 1989. A total of 60 people including 55 passengers and 5 crew members died owing to the fake bolts/pins of inferior quality used in the aircraft to secure its tail. This unfortunate case was the one that brought forgery in aircraft parts to limelight and to the government’s attention.
However, even after corrective measures being taken by the government, accidents have still occurred due to counterfeiting, costing people their lives.
We have all heard about incidences where the phones or the chargers of the phones burst due to some reason causing harm to the people around. Similar was the case because of which a young man landed in Coma after his fake phone charger gave him a severe shock, causing cardiac arrest and depriving his brain of oxygen.
Another situation which requires considerable attention is counterfeiting of medicines and drugs. In such a case, fake medicines or drugs can directly impact the lives of many, in fact there have been many cases where because of fake medicines and drugs people have lost their lives. This is no new news and has been occurring in all parts of our country and moreover across the globe. Even well-educated and aware citizens sometimes oversee fake products and unknowingly consume the same.
Other area where heavy amount of counterfeiting persists is the liquor industry. Many of us have seen in the movies where illiterate and poor people in the villages die due to consumption of fake alcohol, but this is just not limited to movies or dramas. This is a real yet serious situation since according to the present statistics a considerable amount of counterfeiting prevails in the category of alcohol. According to the FICCI Illicit Marketing Report, the largest increase in the amount of loss was seen in the alcoholic beverages industry, where losses have risen by 151%.
Hence, Counterfeiting is not only limited to fake branded bags and apparels and extends further to other less known industries such as medicines, drugs, alcohol, electronic appliances etc. directly impacting the lives of many. The situation is alarming at the moment and the time has come when brands and consumers should start paying attention towards this menace of counterfeiting. Brands should adopt corrective measures and ways to avoid duplication and consumers should watch out for signs and symbols which can help them identify the difference between fake and original products. For the same, anti-counterfeiting solutions are available in the market like Holographic Strip, Holographic Board, Holographic Tax Stamp, 3D Holographic Stickers etc.