Trends in Anti-Counterfeiting, Brand Protection and Product authentication | #itsecurity | #infosec

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By Lokesh Harjani, Founder & CEO, OnSpot Solutions

The COVID-19 crisis has heightened the quantity of counterfeited products in many parts of the world due to restrictions in global trade. This, further pushed by the vast growth of the e-commerce industry, has increased 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 seeking more holistic solutions to counter the growth in counterfeit goods. Track-and-trace solutions are among the best performing technological sectors, as supply chain transparency has become a steadily more critical issue for brand owners.

Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are one of the most money-spinning sectors for counterfeiters. Today, fake drugs not only harm but kill several across the globe. Parallel, it can cause severe damage to the brand names of big pharmaceutical manufacturers. The growing public use of online pharmacies has further widened the market for falsified drugs. According to the WHO, around 50% of the drugs for sale on the internet are estimated to be fake.

Manufacturers incorporate sophisticated emergent authentication technologies into the packaging to get ahead of the counterfeit industry. These technologies safeguard the integrity of the brands. This enables, retailers, distributors or even the end consumers can verify the authenticity of the products.

RFID: Radio-frequency identification (RFID) can help provide a quick way to retrieve information, track pharmaceuticals or items in the supply chain, and help avoid the costs associated with counterfeit or adulterated medications.

BarCode / QR Code: the technology segment has returned the highest share in the anti-counterfeit packaging market till now and is projected to grow at a second-highest rate during the forecast period. This is because it is highly preferred for brand protection in almost all industries. These companies are upbeat about this technology as the information and code embossed over the barcode does not allow the covert data to be displayed on the label, making it difficult for counterfeiters to copy.

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

Tamper-proof technology combined with covert security features such infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) pigments, micro text, and microscopic tagging can strengthen the current packaging processes. Including technology in pharmaceutical packaging can further strengthen the recent anti-counterfeiting supply chain tracking steps.

Digitalization will help consumers be more aware and in control of avoiding the consumption of fake medicine, but it will also provide brands and authorities with a more streamlined solution to the issue of counterfeiting.

Tracking and traceability are of great importance to the pharma industry when tackling 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 the tracking of products in the distribution chain easier for brands and authorities. Combining this step with the usage of anti-counterfeiting apps that quickly confirm the drug’s authenticity can be one way of avoiding counterfeited medicine.

Lastly, as vital as it is to protect consumers from counterfeit medicine, it is also essential for pharma companies to have robust brand protection strategies to protect themselves in the event of a fake version of their drug being sold in the market. Without an efficient brand protection strategy, consumers find it difficult to trust a particular company’s products. Active participation of firms in finding anti-counterfeiting solutions also serves as a brand protection strategy. The APAC region is projected to be the largest market for authentication and brand protection from 2021 to 2026

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