Counterfeiters are lurking in the dark and there's no guarantee that the medicines sold from the drug stores across India are all genuine. A consumer cannot tell whether the pharma product wrapped in sleek packaging isn't fake.
Counterfeiters are lurking in the dark and there’s no guarantee that the medicines sold from the drug stores across India are all genuine. A consumer cannot tell whether the pharma product wrapped in sleek packaging isn’t fake.
India is yet to adopt international solutions which are necessary to authenticate medicines and pharmaceutical products that millions of people depend on to combat health conditions. Unlike Pakistan, India doesn’t have a system with which the consumer can check whether a medicine is genuine.
“The counterfeiters here are successful because we are not making their task difficult and not making this business less profitable for them,” said U.K Gupta, President of Authentication Solutions Providers Association, told IANS.
“The counterfeiters can pursue their business because of non-adoption of authentication solutions, inadequate surveillance efforts by brand owners to identify counterfeit products and lack of consumer awareness,” he said.
According to Gupta, the product packaging is easily copied due to availability of packaging raw materials in the neighbouring countries.
So what needs to be done?
“We already have a barcode system to check the authenticity of medicines that are exported. Through this system we can keep at bay all types of spurious and fake medicines,” Drug Controller General of India G.N. Singh told IANS.
“However, we do not have any system to check the medicines that come to India and the medicines that are sold in India,” he added.
But it’s a different scene in Pakistan where the Drug Regulatory Authority introduced the global unique identification code system to counter the sale of spurious drugs and over-pricing. Under the new system, buyers having smartphones can verify a medicine and its price.
Can such a system be implemented in India?
Singh said: “The process has already been initiated and within a couple of months we will have a code system like Pakistan to check the spurious medicines”.
“Documents and the entire plan is with the ministry and they are examining it. This will be a technology-driven system.”
A large part of the procedure will involve oversight, testing, tracking and analysis of practices.
“Adopting authentication solutions is the most important preventive step. The government and brand owners should communicate to the consumers about the authentication features on their product and the means to verify those features,” Gupta said.