How much genuine are the medicines which you often purchase from a local chemist for your father’s cardiac issues, your mother’s arthritis or your asthma? Have you ever thought twice about it? Perhaps no, and you are not an exception. In fact, we all buy medicines like that and the thing we mostly check is the expiry date. But, to your horror WHO has stated that 35 per cent of the fake drugs sold across the world is from India. This fact sinks you deep down in despair because you cannot ascertain the authenticity of drugs, which you and your family have been consuming until recently. It certainly is a matter of life and death. Isn’t it?
But, not just the pharmaceutical industry, counterfeiting has crept in every sector and is going to become a $1.90 -$2.81 trillion industry by 2022 according to a report by KPMG and FICCI.
Counterfeits pose a significant risk to consumers. Unsafe fake goods can lead to injuries, deaths, and illnesses, as in the case of fake drugs. In cases where fake goods cause no physical harm, consumers are harmed financially when they are duped into spending their hard earned cash on a poor-functioning, low-quality counterfeit.
Moreover, since businesses must raise their prices to recoup losses from counterfeiting, the public is forced to pay higher prices for brand-name products because of counterfeiters.
So is there any long-term fix for counterfeiting? Yes, the government can frame strong law enforcement policies, set advanced & traceable monitoring checks in the supply chain, increase consumer awareness programs, promote development of anti-counterfeiting technologies, help in collaboration of national and local law enforcement agencies and last but not the least create single window channels for addressing counterfeit complaints.
No doubt, this would take time to show results but it will save huge annual loss to exchequer which according to FICCI was a whopping Rs 39,239 crore in 2018. That’s a huge loss to our country. A well-coordinated effort between the private players and the government can make India free from the menace of counterfeiting.