PR: Trade body urges more action in face of anti-counterfeiting pharma report

The commercial hologram industry has welcomed a new report predicting ‘impressive’ growth for pharmaceutical authentication technologies but warns that more still needs to be done to tackle global counterfeiting ‘hotspots’.

The International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) was commenting on the Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting Technologies Sales Market Research Report 2017.

According to the study, the pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting technologies sales market is expected to grow between 2017 and 2022.

Growth in anti-counterfeiting devices appears strong says the IHMA in the face of increasing incidences of global counterfeiting and higher levels of technology awareness among regulatory authorities.

But the trade association wants those with anti-counterfeiting responsibilities to remain ‘extremely vigilant’, and to review on a regular basis their authentication strategies and if necessary, upgrade them.

There remains a strong case for continuing to target markets in Asia, particularly China, which is the main source of counterfeit products. (A report published by World Customs Organisation confirmed that the country contributes 70 per cent of the total number of counterfeit goods seized worldwide).

Augmenting demand for advanced technologies, which can include combining holography with other devices, is expected to boost sector growth in the next few years, says the IHMA.

According to the World Health Organisation, the cost to the global economy of pharmaceutical counterfeiting was approximately $75bn in 2010 and continues to rise.

The counterfeiting business is far more lucrative and less risky than illicit drug activities, with criminals less likely to be prosecuted than those engaged in trafficking, says the IHMA, which wants to see constant pressure applied by all involved to stem the tidal wave of fake products flooding onto global markets.

Security devices on pharmaceutical packaging can ensure quality and check the distribution and smuggling of illicit products, while items not displaying security holograms can be seized and destroyed.

IHMA chair Manoj Kochar welcomed the report but added that people cannot afford to rest on their laurels when it comes to the war on counterfeiting.

“All involved in the supply chain - manufacturers, distributors, consumers, tax authorities - will welcome this new report, which indicates significant commercial opportunities for authentication technologies such as holograms.

“But everyone from producers to end-users need to be constantly reminded of the benefits provided by the presence of holograms on products.”

The use of well-designed and properly deployed authentication solutions, as advocated in ISO’s 12931 standard, on authentication solutions, enables examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating it from the counterfeits coming out of China.

Even those that carry a ‘fake’ authentication feature can be distinguished from the genuine item if that item carries a carefully thought-out authentication solution.

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