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ASPA releases report on substandard and falsified medical products during COVID-19

The report highlights the trends in pharma crime and incidents of sub-standard and falsified (SF) medical products during COVID-19 and recommendations to combat it   

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The Authentication Solutions Providers’ Association (ASPA) released a report “Substandard and falsified medical products, learning from COVID-19 pandemic and technological tools to ensure medicines & patient safety” yesterday. The report highlights the trends in pharma crime and incidents of sub-standard and falsified (SF) medical products during COVID-19, and recommendations to combat it.

According to the report, the incidents of substandard and falsified (SF) medical products noted an increase of 47 per cent from 2020 (91) to 2021 (134) during 2020 and 2021; while the incidents of SF of COVID-19 products were observed in 23 out of 29 states and seven Union Territories (UTs).

In addition, the report has welcomed the government of India’s decision to make QR Codes mandatory on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and recommend taking a comprehensive approach to build an authentication ecosystem in the country.

The report further said that SF products are impacting every products sector, and the incidents of counterfeiting in India have risen with a 20 per cent growth from January 2018 to December 2020. Globally, also, pharma SF incidents rose 111 per cent over the past ten years, derailing global efforts to fight life-threatening disease and to achieve its sustainability goals “Right to Health.”

Talking about the report, Nakul Pasricha, President, ASPA, said, “Criminals have seen the pandemic crisis as an opportunity to sell more and more substandard and falsified medical products, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the people in need. The tremendous adverse impact of the huge increase in circulation of spurious medicine and medical essentials on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has almost gone unnoticed. It is unfortunate as criminals produce ineffective or harmful products in packaging that appear identical to genuine products to make them difficult to detect. The circulation and use of these SF medical products violate the Right to Health and slows down the pace of providing quality health services that people deserve. It is high time for firm action to curb this menace. If preventive steps are taken now, we will be better positioned to deliver effective healthcare to patients.”

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