Barring the way of fake drugs

Feb 11 2013, 10:17 IST
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SummaryIndia is the third-largest drug producer globally by volume and 14th by value, with an estimated 5,000 production lines.

Spurious medicines are a growing menace and a dangerous threat to public health. Several pharmaceutical majors are deploying barcode technologies to help verify the genuine from the fake. They are also encouraging the end user to use mobile phones and verify a product’s legitimacy by SMS, voice or Web

India is the third-largest drug producer globally by volume and 14th by value, with an estimated 5,000 production lines. This is an impressive record, but it is being over-shadowed by the growth of the fake drug market in the country. Even globally, counterfeit drugs form a growing problem. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that counterfeit drug prevalence rates fall between 10% and 30% in the developing world, as compared to 1% or less in developed countries.

A recent report shows the extent of the prevalence of counterfeit drugs in the Indian market. Maharashtra is the worst affected, with 23% of the medicines in the state found to be ‘not of standard quality’. For Tamil Nadu, this number is 13%, Kerala 9.2%, Gujarat 8.5%, Karnataka 7.2%, UP 6.9%, J&K 6.08% and Rajasthan 5.8%. Spurious drugs, which can take the benign form of simple sugar pills, also have huge destructive capabilities. A large portion of fake drugs seized by the government were found to contain toxic chemicals like mercury, not to mention heavy metals. These chemicals, when ingested normally, are hugely dangerous. When taken as a substitute for genuine medicines, however, spurious drugs can be fatal. The government, thus, has started a campaign to implement bar codes on drugs, so as to distinguish them from the fakes. The global anti-counterfeit packaging market is expected to be worth $79.3 billion by 2014, growing at an estimated CAGR of 8.6% from 2009 to 2014. This opens up a significant market potential for track-and-trace management (barcoding) product authentication solutions for the pharmaceuticals industry.

According to India Barcode Scanners & Printers Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2017, the revenues of the barcode industry in India are likely to grow at a whopping CAGR of around 30% during the period 2011-2017. Cashing in on this potential, Goose Technologies, a provider of pharmaceuticals industry-focused business re-engineering software products and solutions, has launched its new-generation online and offline 2D serialisation bar coding solution, for the drug industry. “Goose Tracker is a simple and easy-to-configure track and trace solution for achieving bar coding on drug packaging as per the recent Directorate of Foreign Trade

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