Pharmaceutical products are one of the most vulnerable goods for counterfeiting practices worldwide. Counterfeiting practices involve substitution of original medicine with substandard drug containing toxic substance or no active ingredient at all. Anti-counterfeiting technologies are applied to nullify adverse impact on health of patients, which may lead to death of patient in extreme cases. Pharmaceutical industry has one of the highly complex supply chain management network, which makes it relatively difficult to track products from end to end platform, thereby increasing demand for counterfeiting practice. Unlike other products in which counterfeiting practices could be identified with visual appearance of the product by the end user, pharmaceutical products could not be identified for their spurious content by the end user or other stake holder. Moreover, various patented products of high price are counterfeited with spurious content to gain high profit. Anti-counterfeiting technologies consist of different types such as track and trace technologies, cohort technologies, overt technologies, and forensic technologies. Drugs that are commonly counterfeited include birth control drugs, anti-malarial, and other lifesaving drugs. Although there is a rapid change in technology landscape such as availability of smartphones, burden of anti-counterfeiting practices are increasingly shared by the end users.
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Pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting technologies market is majorly driven by the increasing incidence of counterfeiting medicines affecting patient health and overall human capital. According to the International Trade Administration Top Market Reports on Pharmaceuticals published in 2016, the global market for counterfeit drugs valued at number of US$ 75 – 200 billion, which is a serious threat to the health of people worldwide. In 2017, the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI) report stated a rise in drug diversion incidents around the world, which includes diversion of medicines supplied for compassionate use. Moreover, serious health incidence or eventual death due to the consumption of counterfeit drugs are major factors increasing the demand for anti-counterfeiting technologies, which would propel growth of pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting technologies market. According to the estimate by the International Criminal Police Organization, (Interpol) counterfeit drugs causes more than 1 million death every year. Increasing intervention by government and other health authorities such as WHO, OECD, and Interpol to tackle the problem of counterfeit drugs is also expected to drive growth of pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting technologies market size over the forecast period. For instance, the European Union launched EU Falsified Medicines Directive to control the volume of counterfeit drugs. Launch of new and innovative platforms in anti-counterfeiting technologies is another major factor driving growth of the market, as it results in more resilient technology at lower cost and provides high protection to the medicines. For instance, in 2017, Clariant introduced Plastiward system, which uses covert taggants developed by SICPA SA to supply an integrated plastic-based anti-counterfeiting technology that can be used in pharmaceutical packaging. They applied DNA technologies to develop signature molecular tracking system, which can be used in the tracking and tracing of legal cannabis for medical use. Other emerging technologies such as DNA based technology and intelligent packaging (printed electronics, micro sensors, Iot) would be commercialized in the near future.
On the basis of region, the global pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting technologies market is segmented into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. North America holds a dominant position in the market due to rising number of counterfeit drugs and stringent regulations related to counterfeit drugs. It is observed that the FDA seized nearly US$ 73 million in counterfeit drugs in the year 2014. Moreover, the opioid addiction has led to increased levels of counterfeit opioids such as fentanyl. The U.S. enacted legislations such as the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) in 2017 that mandates pharmaceutical manufacturers to identify pharmaceuticals at the unit package level, in order to trace the product within the supply chain. This is done to prevent pharmaceutical product counterfeiting. Moreover, Asia Pacific is expected to witness significant growth in the market over the forecast period due to the maximum number of counterfeit drugs available in this region. According to The World Health Organization (WHO) fact sheet 2017, around 1 in 10 medical products used in low- and middle-income economies are either substandard or falsified and up to 30 per cent of branded drugs sold in these economies are counterfeit. According to the Pharmaceutical Security Institute in 2017, maximum arrest (51%) cases in association with the counterfeiting of pharmaceuticals are observed in Asia Pacific.
Key players operating in the pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting technologies market include Alien Technology, Alpvision, Robert Bosch GmbH, 3M Company, Angstrom Technologies, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Authentix, Inc., Avery Dennison Corporation, Colorcon, Covectra, and Everest Holovisions Ltd.
Major players are adopting strategic collaborations and launching new products, in order to retain their position in the market. Daily Wellness Company chose TruTag’s platform for its nutraceuticals and health products, in which products would be tagged to allow detection and authentication throughout the supply chain. The company collaborated with Sumitomo Corporation in the U.S. to invest and develop its technology for pharmaceutical industry. In May 2017, Alien Technology launched the ALR-F800-X with Emissary, which would simplify RFID reader infrastructure, installation, operations, and maintenance.