Counterfeiting has become the crime of the 21st century

Arun Agarwal, VP, ASPA, Deputy Director (Asia Pacific), International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA), CEO, Kantas Track Pack India, shares details of  2nd Authentication Forum 2018, Leadership Summit on Anti – Counterfeiting and Brand Protection and the way forward to curb counterfeiting in pharma

It is the 2nd Authentication Forum 2018, Leadership Summit on Anti-Counterfeiting and Brand Protection. What is the theme of the event this year and how is it different from the earlier edition?

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Arun Agarwal

The summit’s focus is to enable key decision makers at government, industry, consumer level to gain first-hand knowledge of anti-counterfeiting technologies and solutions to fight against fakes. Today, having an effective anti-counterfeiting and brand protection strategy is no longer an option but an essential part of any business strategy.

We are trying to help business leaders in fighting fakes and therefore, we have tried to design The Authentication Forum 2018 programme as an interactive forum. With more than 15 presentations, including focussing on anti-counterfeiting needs and advances in India, case studies from brand owners, there will be live sessions on counterfeiting real time experience and branding. Apart from these, there will be three panel discussions on government roles and responsibilities, consumer protection awareness, future of anti-counterfeiting technologies such as blockchain, micro-optics, artificial intelligence, serialisation. In the end, there will be a big debate: an interactive townhall session on who is going to take the lead against fighting fakes.

The Authentication Forum 2018 is going to be bigger and better and we are overwhelmed and thankful to our partners and associate including Ernst&Young, International Pharmaceutical Excipients Council of India (IPEC), Health Food and Dietary Supplements Association, FICCI CASCADE, Indian Beverage Association, Crop Life India, Pesticides Manufacturers Association of India, IHMA (UK), Centre for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection (USA), etc.

Counterfeiting is a global problem and many industries are affected by it. Which industries will ASPA’s Authentication Forum 2018, Leadership Summit on Anti-Counterfeiting and Brand Protection focus on?

Counterfeiting has become the crime of the 21st century. It is now a global menace, affecting almost all sectors, heavily bleeding the global economy. The problem is severe in many key sectors perhaps, the most affected are pharma, pesticides, FMCG, Automotive components. We plan on covering the issues affecting all these sectors and others in The Authentication Forum.

The pharma industry faces a lots of problems due to counterfeiting. How will this event help the pharma industry in addressing the issue?

Many countries have regulations requiring serialisation which needs to be addressed by brand owners, e.g. India, the US, EU, Turkey and Russia. As the global pharma industry is moving towards a serialised world, the programme will help in evaluating all the available options required to ensure regulatory compliance, protecting supply chain and keep track of their products. We have designed our programme in a such a manner that it will help delegates in understanding the entire eco-systems in-depth. Secondly, ISO is going to publish new standards on tamper verification features for medicinal product packaging. Our members and expert speakers can help delegates in understanding all these requirements.

Tell us about the session related to counterfeiting in the pharma industry.

We have a panel discussion on government roles, responsibilities and action towards consumer protection and in that we had invited pharma policy representatives from the government to speak. Further, there are case studies from pharma companies such as Mylan Laboratories, explaining the brand owner’s perspective. There will be also presentation on current and upcoming authentication technologies such as blockchain’s role in packaging, artificial intelligence, NFC and others.

Tell us about the number participation and confirmed speakers from the pharma sector.

We are targeting approximately 200 delegates from across the sectors.

Express Pharma congratulates ASPA for completing 20 years in Authentication industry, can you tell us how you are helping the pharma industry. What are the solutions you provide?

Thanks for your wishes. Our 20th year celebration marks our commitments and presence for our industry and hence make us one of the oldest and leading associations in the anti-counterfeiting industry, across the world. As an association, we are actively working with various trade bodies in raising awareness towards fighting fakes and adoption of authentication solutions. Some of our recent initiatives are as follows:

Exhibition: We are exhibiting at various pharma related exhibitions to create awareness. Recently, we exhibited in Pharma Pro & Pack held in September 2017 at Hyderabad.

Brand Protection Awareness Workshop: Last year, we announced to conduct series of ASPA workshops for brand owners, government authorities and industry professional involved in brand protection, revenue protection, supply chain management, regulatory affairs and product packaging. We conducted two workshops in Indore and Hyderabad which are pharma manufacturing hubs. We would like to do similar more in this upcoming year. The aim is to generate awareness amongst stakeholders for need of fighting counterfeiting especially in sectors such as healthcare, automotive components, FMCG, pesticides, excise revenue, government document protection and others.

On the other hand, we are actively in communication with all the major industry association and trying to build zero tolerance environment against counterfeiting. Currently, we are have received active support from various association included, FICCI CASCADE, ASSOCHAM, CII, IPEC India, HADSA, ACMA, SIAM, IBA, IHMA, Counterfeit Intelligence Bureau (CIB), Indian Institute of Packaging etc.

Our member companies are already providing all kinds of anti-counterfeiting, brand protection and regulatory serialisation solutions. Today, there are various authentication technologies available in the market, which cover three main aspects:

  1. Anti-Counterfeiting
  2. Anti-Tampering
  3. Track and Trace

Anti-counterfeiting: Anti-counterfeiting technologies are extremely difficult to be replicated. Consequently, they help in identifying a genuine product. Based on the authentication requirements, such technologies may consist of overt, covert and forensic features, or a mix thereof.

Anti-tampering: Such solutions are found more in the food and pharma industries, where there is a need to protect a product from adulteration or replacement. An intact anti-tampering feature is the consumers’ assurance that the contents are genuine and not tampered or adulterated.

Track and Trace: Track and trace technologies use mass serialisation to provide a unique identity to each SKU. The IT technology then allows to keep a watch on each SKU through customised software that allow an authorised user to track the movement of this SKU across the entire supply chain. Depending upon the authorisation level, each user may also be able to access additional information pertaining to the product such as manufacturing date and factory, expiry date, the market such SKU is meant for etc.

Our members can provide all these technologies which can further be customised according to customer requirement. It is always recommended to adopt combination of physical and digital technologies.

swati.rana@expressindia.com