Counterfeiting in apparels and electronics can still be forgivable for some people. However, when it comes to medicines that save people’s lives, counterfeiting is unforgiveable. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical counterfeit industry is one of the biggest in the world with recent estimates putting its annual sales volume nearly USD$217 billion.
Nearly 1,500 counterfeit drug reports landed on WHO’s desk from 2013 to 2017. What makes matters worse is that none of the countries in the world is safe from the black industry. In developing countries, one drug out of every ten is a fake. The pharmaceutical industry in middle and low-income countries is around USD$300 billion every year. With more than 10% of the drugs reported to be counterfeit, it is a USD$30 billion industry in just these nations.
No One Is Safe from the Terror of Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals
Even the most developed nations are the victim. Just in 2015, there were 779 trade incidents of counterfeit pharmaceuticals in just North America. In fact, FDA had to capture and seal nearly 13,000 websites selling counterfeit drugs in the US in 2013.
It’s a Matter of Life and Death
While people use this phrase as a figure of speech, it applies in its essence in the case of pharmaceutical counterfeit industry. Fake drugs are not just an issue of money wasted. In fact, the counterfeit medicines take lives. These medicines can be fakes in many ways. Here are a few examples:
- They have too much of an active ingredient
- They have too little of the active ingredient
- They have false date of expiration
- They don’t have any medicinal properties – maybe they are just salt or sugar
How much damage counterfeit drugs do depends on what illness they pretend to cure. In low-income countries, it is often the life-saving drugs that are counterfeited. On the other hand, developed nations have a market of fake supplements and lifestyle drugs e.g. penis enlargement pills, breast enlargement creams, tablets fixing erectile dysfunction, etc.
However, the matter gets serious in developing and under-developed nations. According to the recent reports from WHO, nearly 72,000 deaths in children due to pneumonia could be linked to the use of counterfeit drugs. Another report from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine revealed that counterfeit drugs in certain African regions could cause up to 116,000 casualties. If that’s not terrifying, then what is?
Brands Are Paying the Price Too
Pharmaceutical brands have to pay the price for the acts of the counterfeit drugs industry in many ways. First, their buyers around the world are losing trust in their products. In addition to that, any deaths arising from the use of drugs that counterfeiters sell in the name of a popular brand can result in lawsuits against that brand. Moreover, the multiple billion dollars of the counterfeit industry are going from the pockets of the major pharma brands. In fact, they get further hate from the patients when they buy expensive but fake drugs and they do absolutely nothing to cure their illnesses.
Bonafi’s Solution to Knock down the Pharma Counterfeit Industry
Bonafi’s blockchain-based approach to counter the counterfeit industry has come as a potential rescuer for brands, patients, and the world as a whole. Here is how Bonafi will fight counterfeiting in pharmaceutical industry.
The Crypto-tag Embedded behind Labels
Bonafi plans to build a crypto-tag that’s so small that it will easily hide behind brand’s labels. Once there, it will capture all the necessary information about products’ authenticity. Its small size makes it practical to use on any size of pharmaceutical products.
Tampering Does Not Work
These crypto-tags are small but they are being planned to be tamper evident or self-destruct. In fact, tampering will not work for counterfeiters. As soon as they try to peel off the tag or tamper it, the tag will become invalid.
Counterfeiters Can’t Activate the Tag
The best thing about Bonafi’s NFC-enabled crypto-tags is that only the manufacturers and major pharmaceutical brands will have the access to activate them. Once they activate the tag, it will collect information as it moves within the supply chain. Bonafi plans that its enterprise application will record all the details in the blockchain so no one can ever tamper with that information as well.
Retailers Can Verify the Authenticity of Drugs
Bonafi plans that retailers will have access to Bonafi’s application. They can use the Bonafi App to verify drug’s authenticity.
Customers Can Verify the Drugs Too
Most importantly, it is planned that the customers will be able to use Bonafi’s application to verify the authenticity of the drug. When the system has been fully implemented, this would keep them from paying for fake drugs. Additionally, it will help them avoid medicines that could potentially pose threat to their lives.
Recalls Will be Instantly Possible
In the case of a recall of a drug, Bonafi plans that the Crypto-TagsTM will simplify that as well. Since each product will have a unique identity, the brand or manufacturer can easily recall the defective products.
One would expect from humans to be compassionate towards other humans. However, the greed for money has stripped some people of compassion, sympathy, and care for their fellow beings. The existence of multiple-billion dollar counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs industry is evil. The way it has been spreading during that time is terrifying. With support from manufacturers, pharma brands, retailers, wholesalers, and customers, Bonafi plans to offer an internationally accepted tool to fight counterfeiting in pharmaceutical industry.