According to the World Health Organization (WHO), up to 30% of drugs sold in developing nations are branded drugs which are counterfeited. What was once confined to exotic and costly pills has now proliferated to cough syrups, vitamins supplements, painkillers and the like. India being the largest supplier of generic drugs and yet a price-sensitive market, serves as a breeding ground for cheap imitations. The network behind this activity thrives on the Indian consumer's ignorance, appetite for branded goods and their innate nature to bargain.
Counterfeiting causes huge losses to the state which loses out on revenue by way of taxes on goods. A FICCI survey estimated the loss of the Indian exchequer by way of taxes to be roughly around Rs. 1,000 crore every year. On the human side, every year many lives are lost to counterfeit drugs and medicines. A report in the Washington Post suggests that an estimated 12 to 25% of all drugs sold within India are thought to be counterfeiting of products continues to be a bane to the Indian economy while also inflicting serious damage on its reputation globally.
Thus, companies today need to pay special attention to brand security and authentication when designing new products. This can be done by ensuring product and packaging differentiation.
Merck India's Performance Materials Division, helps manufaturers with brand protection concepts and security solutions thereby reducing health hazards and also increasing safety of consumers. These customised solutions include:
Overt Solutions: The visible visual effect of interference or colour changing pigments that helps the consumer distinguish between genuine and imitation packaging without the use of a verification device.