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Messe Frankfurt India’s conference addresses counterfeiting concerns in pharma sector

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Experts discuss strategies and identify solutions to curb the $4.25 billion fake drugs market

Messe Frankfurt Trade Fairs India recently organised a conference on anti-counterfeiting and brand protection – Pharmasafe India in Mumbai. The-two day conference focused on best practices to combat counterfeiting challenge in the pharma sector brought together 144 attendees including 21 eminent speakers representing entire cross section of the industry to discuss strategies and identify solutions to curb the $4.25 billion fake drugs market.

Business leaders and key decision makers from top pharma companies, anti-counterfeiting technology experts and solution providers, customs, government and regulatory authorities and leading industry bodies such as Organization of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI), Indian Drug Manufacturers Association (IDMA), Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA), Federation of Pharma Entrepreneurs (FOPE) as well as speakers from Sanofi, ACG Worldwide, Abbott Healthcare, Boehringer Ingelheim, Central Drug Standards Control Organization, HP Indigo and Inkjet Solutions among others, became the common voice of the industry.

Ajit Singh, Chairman, ACG Worldwide said, “Counterfeiting is largely invisible and therefore not much attention has been given to this issue. Pharmasafe India has turned out to be one of the best platforms in the industry. We feel this is an excellent initiative that Messe Frankfurt has Undertaken. It aligns with our objective and would love to be part of it again next year.”

Dr Shailesh Iyenger, MD, India & VP, South Asia, Sanofi said, “The initiative and purpose behind this first-of-its-kind forum for the sector is truly commendable. The discussions here are need of the hour and it is time the industry and other key stake holders came together to address the serious challenge of counterfeiting of pharmaceuticals.”

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Delegates at the event

On the second day of the conference, Pramod Bhatt, Director- Security and Intelligence, Sanofi spoke on the need for creating consumer awareness to curb counterfeit medicines and deliver safe medicines to the consumers. He stressed on creating an external platform which will be help to generate better awareness. He suggested that it should be a public-private partnership between police officials, CBI officials, customs officers and drug regulatory authorities. He also suggested creating a campaign at school level, medical colleges etc and collaborate with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs for a nationwide campaign.

Rajiv Joshi, Partner, Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services Ernst and Young, talked about the good initiatives being taken by the government such as Jaago Grahaak Jaago and its relevance in today’s time. He also spoke on the Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011 and its use in the Indian pharma industry. He also said that it has found acclaim globally. He also opined that the Indian pharma industry is highly regulated and it is mandatory for all the stakeholders to know about the legalities related to the sector.

Ajay Chandru, Senior Member of the Intellectual Property (IP), Pharma and Life Science Practice, Nishith Desai Associates, shared his domain knowledge and spoke on the laws affecting the pharma industry. While discussing about the counterfeit issues, he informed the stakeholders about the procedures required for appealing in the court and what support a plaintiff can get in order to ensure that the products are genuine.

Bharat Kapoor, Chief Operating Officer, Strategic IP Information informed that there are around 1300 online domains which have been banned for supplying illegal or fake medicines. Today, around 30000 products are sold online, which are mainly for weight loss, in the cosmetics category etc.

Ameesh Masurekar, Director, AIOCD Pharmasofttech AWACS said that brand protection is a key element in any organisation.

(With inputs from Usha Sharma)

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