Trends in anti-counterfeiting, brand protection and product authentication

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By Lokesh Harjani, Founder and CEO, OnSpot Solutions

The COVID-19 crisis has increased the amount of counterfeit products in many parts of the world due to global trade restrictions. This, driven by the tremendous growth in the e-commerce industry, has increased the demand for anti-counterfeiting and brand protection solutions. The scenario paves the way for brand protection, track and trace and other anti-counterfeiting technologies in packaging as global economies grapple with the fallout from COVID-19.

The industry is increasingly looking for more comprehensive solutions to counter the growth of counterfeit products. Track and trace solutions are among the most successful technology sectors, as supply chain transparency has become an increasingly critical issue for brand owners.

Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are one of the most lucrative sectors for counterfeiters. Today, counterfeit drugs not only harm, but kill many people around the world. At the same time, it can cause serious damage to the brand names of major pharmaceutical manufacturers. The growing public use of online pharmacies has further expanded the market for falsified medicines. According to the WHO, approximately 50% of drugs for sale on the Internet are estimated to be fake.

Manufacturers are integrating sophisticated emerging authentication technologies into packaging to get ahead of the counterfeit industry. These technologies preserve the integrity of brands. This allows retailers, distributors or even end consumers to verify the authenticity of products.

RFID: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) can help provide a quick way to retrieve information, track pharmaceuticals or items through the supply chain, and avoid costs associated with counterfeit or adulterated drugs.

Barcode / QR Code: the technology segment has reclaimed the highest share in the anti-counterfeit packaging market so far and is expected to grow at a second highest rate during the forecast period. Indeed, it is highly preferred for brand protection in almost every industry. These companies are optimistic about this technology because the information and code engraved on the barcode does not allow the secret data to be displayed on the label, which makes it difficult for counterfeiters to copy it.

Smart labels and holograms: Personalized brand protection services. These are designed for the product level and easily integrated and used in a partner network. The relationship between product and user is digitized, allowing each product to be personalized and analyzed in real time. This enables an IoT ecosystem – with maximum benefits for customers and partners.

Tamper-evident technology combined with covert security features such as infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) pigments, microtext and microscopic labeling can enhance today’s packaging processes. The inclusion of technology in pharmaceutical packaging can further bolster recent anti-counterfeit supply chain tracking steps.

Digitization will help consumers be more aware of and control the consumption of fake medicines, but it will also provide brands and authorities with an easier solution to the problem of counterfeiting.

Tracking and tracing is of great importance for the pharmaceutical industry in the fight against counterfeiting. There needs to be increased adoption of digital serialization through identifiers such as QR codes, barcodes and other unique alphanumeric codes and establish a communication channel, making it easier to track products in the distribution chain to brands and authorities. Combining this step with the use of anti-counterfeit apps that quickly confirm the authenticity of the drug can be a way to avoid counterfeit drugs.

Finally, as vital as consumer protection against counterfeit medicines is, it is also essential for pharmaceutical companies to have strong brand protection strategies in place to protect themselves in the event a fake version of their medicine is sold on the market. . Without an effective brand protection strategy, consumers find it difficult to trust the products of a particular company. The active participation of businesses in researching anti-counterfeiting solutions also serves as a brand protection strategy. APAC is expected to be the largest market for brand authentication and protection from 2021 to 2026

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