IHMA urges more action in face of new anti-counterfeiting report on pharma industry

The commercial hologram industry has welcomed a new report predicting ‘impressive’ growth for pharmaceutical authentication technologies, but warns that more work 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*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, states the IHMA, in the face of increasing incidences of global counterfeiting and higher levels of technology awareness among regulatory authorities.

The Trade Association wants those with anti-counterfeiting responsibilities to remain ‘extremely vigilant’, 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, and particularly China, which is the main source of counterfeit products. A report published by the World Customs Organisation has confirmed that China contributes 70% of the total number of counterfeit goods seized worldwide.

Boosting sector growth

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

According to the World Health Organisation, the cost to the global economy of pharmaceutical counterfeiting was approximately $75 billion 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, comments the IHMA, which wants to see constant pressure applied by all involved to stem the tidal wave of fake products flooding 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 may be seized and destroyed.

War on counterfeiting

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

“All those involved in the supply chain – manufacturers, distributors, consumers and tax authorities – will welcome this new report, which indicates significant commercial opportunities for authentication technologies such as holograms,” said Kochar, “but everyone from producers through to end users needs 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 document on authentication solutions, enables examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating such products 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.


About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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