The Authentication Solution Providers' Association (ASPA) has claimed counterfeit consumer goods of inferior quality across various sectors in India are causing losses to the tune of over Rs 1 lakh crore every year.
Stressing the need to have anti-counterfeiting solutions along with adequate awareness and monitoring, industry body ASPA, comprising 60 members, said counterfeiting is more prevalent in the pharmaceutical industry. ASPA President Nakul Pasricha said that the government needs to take measures in this regard as it is a threat to public health.
"At present counterfeiting causes around Rs 1.05 lakh crore losses to India per annum. If counterfeiting is curbed by 50 per cent through proper implementation of authentication solutions, enforcement, awareness and monitoring, it can save more than Rs 50,000 crore per annum," ASPA President Nakul Pasricha said.
Counterfeit goods often entice consumers because they cost less than the real thing, but they are of poor quality as they are not subjected to the vigorous safety checks that legitimate manufacturers apply to their products. Counterfeit goods are often made using dangerous components that put the health and safety of consumers at risk. ASPA mainly focuses on adoption and advancement of authentication technology and solutions for brand, revenue and document protection.
Citing a report of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pasricha said trade in counterfeit and pirated goods has risen steadily in the last few years globally with trade volumes in fake products now standing at 3.3 per cent of total global trade.
Trade of fake goods causes loss to the companies and governments while creating profit for organised crime gangs, he added.
There is a wide variety of technologies available today that support in curbing counterfeiting, the ASPA president said. These technologies are applied in the three main areas of anti-counterfeiting—anti-tampering, tracking and tracing.
Giving an example, Pasricha said that with the use of physical as well as digital authentication solutions like track and trace, Nigeria could reduce rate of counterfeiting in some key medicines from nearly 20 per cent to 3.5 per cent within a period of three years.
While anti-tampering technologies are used to protect a product from adulteration or replacing it with a fake product, tracking and tracing technologies are used to determine where and when a product, taking its components into account, was manufactured and its current status in the supply chain, he said.
Some technologies also allow for determining where a product is supposed to go.
Thus, tracking and tracing technologies are used to fight unauthorised distribution, which is frequently linked to counterfeiting, he said.
"The return of investment on authentication solutions is much greater and the positive impact of using of the anti-counterfeit solutions is proven in the other countries and we are confident that India too will adopt it," Pasricha added.
(With inputs from PTI)