eMart Engagement Blog
Post by Sanjaya Sarangi
Semtember 26, 2014
Counter the Counterfeits
Should you be worried about your brand being diluted by the fake pharmaceutical drugs flooding the market? Or your consumers are able to differentiate between the genuine and the fake drugs? World Health Organisation has seen an increase of 'medication fakes' hitting medical stores lately. As per WHO findings, 15-20% of the domestic market is flooded by counterfeit drugs, which apart from eating away pharma companies' margins, is being fatal to human life. This apart from being harmful to the consumer, possess a threat to the brand's equity and positioning in the market.
While spurious drugs had always been prevalent in the market, the diffusion of technology has now improved the ability to produce duplicate drugs in an easy, quick and inexpensive fashion. The real concern here is, earlier faking was limited to costly and expensive drugs, but now even the copies of over-the-counter easily accessible drugs are being manufactured. Counterfeiting is becoming a real loss maker for the brands. Counterfeits damage the brands' image, just by flooding the market beyond scope. The erosion also leads to loss of consumer's trust and confidence in the brand, which is most important in case of pharmaceutical medicines.
A worthy topic for discussion here is: Are you taking any steps towards protecting the trust of your consumers?
Counterfeiting though prevalent in every sector, imposes threat to the end users' lives when it is concerned with the pharmaceutical industry. The fake drugs hijack the original brand in the market by imitating the products by your firms. Although India is a major player in pharmaceutical sector, its image is at risk with the growing fake-drugs market. India has more than 10,000 drugs manufacturers and is the third-largest medicine producer all over the world. This exemplary image of India itself lays an enormous foundation for the counterfeits to earn profits. All counterfeiters have to do is to copy the appearance of the product.
In order to tackle this problem, several Indian pharma companies are making use of technology and analytics. They are tying up with various technology provider companies to generate 'difficult to imitate' coding systems. This helps the consumers to distinguish the original and the fake drugs. The way it works is - when consumers buy medicines, they find a visible or hidden label on the package. They simply have to scratch-off the labels to reveal the unique code. Pharma companies urge the users to use mobile phones to SMS this code to the number provided. The consumers then receive an immediate SMS response to tell them if the medicines are valid or not. This technique deters counterfeiters, as consumers are now able to search for these features and know instantly that if a product does not have them, it is a forgery. With the help of this anticounterfeit labelling, pharma companies are now able to trace the medicines at the time of tertiary sales. This real time data analysis helps detect and prevent counterfeit drugs.
Pharma sector has always worked in close relations with technology to accelerate innovation when it comes to critical areas such as drug discovery or simulated healthcare. This time the partnering of technology is required to keep the 'fake community' away from your customer base and safeguard their interests and their lives. The pharma companies will have to opt some or the other methods to stay alive and stay genuine in the market or the counterfeits will eat on all your margins.
- 1. Counter the Counterfeits
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