Criminals saw crisis as an opportunity to sell more such products, taking advantage of vulnerability of people in need, ASPA president Nakul Pasricha says.
Criminals saw crisis as an opportunity to sell more such products, taking advantage of vulnerability of people in need, ASPA president Nakul Pasricha says
During the COVID-19 pandemic, incidents of substandard and falsified (SF) medical products increased by almost 47% from 2020 to 2021. Trade-in pharmaceutical counterfeits during this period spiked majorly relating to COVID-19 products, including vaccines, medicines, test kits, antibiotics, face masks and sanitizers. This, according to the latest report released by the Authentication Solution Providers’ Association (ASPA), an organisation working against fake medical products.
The ASPA has studied the major counterfeit incident noticed during the COVID-19 period and its impact in the country and released a report titled – “Substandard and falsified medical products, learning from COVID-19 Pandemic and Technological tools to ensure medicines and patient safety”.
The report highlighted the trends on pharmaceutical crime and incidents of SF medical products and recommendations to combat it. “We welcome the Government of India’s decision to make QR Codes mandatory on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs); however, we suggest a comprehensive approach towards building an authentication ecosystem in the country,’’ it noted.
National authentication projects have been trending internationally for the last few years, with China, Brazil, Turkey, the U.S., and the EU being the pioneers in this area. It had helped them to reduce the shadow market in various industries, improve tax collection and significantly reduce losses incurred by businesses from counterfeit products and illegal trade.
ASPA secretary Chander S. Jeena said, “India should also implement these measures in other sectors to join the league of advanced digital economies.” The report had been made by monitoring and collating news from leading media across the country, the World Health Organisation (WHO) medical alert etc, he added.