Experts emphasise on innovation to tackle counterfeiting at the conference
Pharmasafe India 2016, a conference on anti-counterfeiting and brand protection, recently concluded in Mumbai. Delegates with backgrounds like regulatory agencies, law, brand protection, enforcement, pharma manufacturing, authentication technology, pharmacy, anti-counterfeiting etc. attended the conference.
In his inaugural address, Dr K Bangarurajan, Deputy Drugs Controller (DDC)I, discussed the causes of counterfeiting and measures undertaken by the government to counter them. He said, “There is a lot of money involved in counterfeiting, mainly in lifestyle medicines. Moreover, manufacturing equipment are widely available and facilities like the internet and postal delivery have made distribution an easy process. Weak legislation and enforcement have also aided the growth of counterfeiting business.”
Though measures like strengthening of drug regulatory system in the country, amendments in Drug and Cosmetics Act- 2008, whistle blower scheme etc are in place, there are a few implementation challenges. Bangarurajan explained, “Non uniformity in enforcement, lack of adequate manpower and infrastructure, difficult to trace manufacturers, no foreign site inspections, inadequate training, long list of pending cases in courts and lack of an intelligence network are some of the biggest worries in the implementation of anti-counterfeiting measures.”
Pramod Bhatt, Director, Security and Intelligence (South Asia), Sanofi India, spoke on anti – counterfeiting strategies and the need for innovation to manage counterfeiting. According to him, a strategy should not be reactive, it must be preventive. He said, “As far anti-counterfeiting strategy is concerned, the focus should be on prevention, collaboration and co-operation. All the stakeholders should be involved Information should be shared and mutual trust should be developed. Awareness campaigns are also necessary where target audience would be retailers, distributors, consumers, doctors and regulatory bodies and law enforcement agencies.” He added, “Counterfeiters are innovating faster than us. Technology should be such that it can not be replicated.”
A panel discussion on ‘Industry initiatives against counterfeiting’ was also one of the highlights of the conference.
Like Bhatt, Ashwani Sood, Senior Director, Industrial Affairs, Sanofi India also stressed on the importance of innovation during the panel discussion. He said, “Something innovative, which will raise patient’s confidence that what he is consuming is safe, should be the objective. Geographical complexity in the country and volume of medicines is making it difficult to handle counterfeiting. Our efforts are at a good level but not at the ideal level. Innovation is going to be the key in
Shaunak Dave, Asian Market Director, Optel Vision, discussed the role of technology in overpowering the threat of counterfeiting. “Counterfeiting badly affects company’s revenue. Single technology is not going to help. We need to use multiple technologies to counter counterfeiting. Before the implementation of any technology, its ease of implementation, feasibility, cost etc. needed to be considered. Technology should be non-clonable, but at the same time, it should be user-friendly as well,” said Dave.
While highlighting the silver lining to the cloud, Dharmesh Kharwar, Director, Strategic Alliances, MSD (Merck Group), said that with more and more digitisation and automation, challenges are going to decrease while developing anti-counterfeiting solutions.
EP News Bureau