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Indian Pharmaceutical industry affected by counterfeiting challenges

Indian Pharmaceutical industry affected by counterfeiting challenges

Indian Pharmaceutical industry amongst five sectors affected by counterfeiting Incidents reported by Authentication Solution Providers Association, ASPA. There was a sharp spike in crimes related to illicit liquor, smuggling of tobacco products and pharmaceutical products especially PPE kits and sanitizers, etc during the COVID-19 lockdown.

It has been observed that criminals are taking advantage of the high demand for medicines, health supplements, safety products, hygiene products and other essentials created due to the COVID crisis and contaminating the market by selling fake and sub-standard products threatening the lives of our paramedical professionals, security volunteers, patients, and society at large.

In recent years, an uptick in unsophisticated frauds has been noticed. The COVID-19 pandemic has also shown that criminals quickly adapt to the new trade environment and find ways to infiltrate legitimate supply chains with counterfeit and often dangerous products.Professional fraudsters are now using the latest manufacturing and printing technologies to duplicate finishes, print boxes, labels, codes, and packaging that mimics genuine products perfectly. Fakes are almost undetectable to an average consumer. The increasing incidents of frauds such as diversion, counterfeiting and black marketing of medicines & others essential items are further adding more challenges for our healthcare professionals already exhausted due to shortage of manpower. Within the last month, there have been a number of cases reported of counterfeit Covid-19 medication.

States including Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Haryana, Bihar, Punjab, West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Odisha are amongst top ten States which need urgent attention in respect to counterfeit incidents requiring more detailed analysis of the issue followed by stringent anti-counterfeiting policy mechanisms and implementations.


The report studies and highlights the trends of counterfeiting incidents reported in India for the period January 2018 to December 2020, providing special insight on 2020 incidents. According to the report, counterfeiting incidents have risen rapidly /steadily in the last few years. On an average the increase in counterfeiting incidents being reported in the last 3 years has been 20% from January 2018 to December 2020. In 2020 these reported incidents have increased by 17% as compared to 2019.

While counterfeiting is a global menace and no economy in the world has remained unaffected by this menace, the latest trends are alarming for the lives of citizens and Indian economy. Globally, it now stands at 3.3% of global trade (according to OECD report) and is impacting the social and economic development of countries.


As counterfeiting incidents in India are increasing with an alarming rate of 20% year on year growth between 2018-2020, the aim is to build awareness on the economic and societal impact of counterfeiting, as per ASPA.

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