How Counterfeiting Is A Menace For Business And Society
The global market loses $1.8 trillion every year and is expected to grow up to $ 4.22 trillion by 2023. These numbers tell us how big the problem is. Counterfeiting is harmful to businesses and in turn the society in many ways. To start with, around a million people die every year because of the counterfeit medicines. As per the estimation by the World Health Organization (WHO), over 30% of pharmaceuticals in developing countries are fake.
Pharmaceuticals, Electrical and Electronics, Foods, Auto parts, Clothing, Toys and Nursery Goods, Agriculture, luxury goods (designer handbags, jewellery) and Alcohol industry are few of the most targeted sectors by the counterfeiters.
I feel that the counterfeiting in the industries that affect the health of the people should be treated as a solid criminal offense. Many people fall sick or even die because of using the counterfeit products. Imagine the pain of a person who gives medication to his loved one cure a normal cold or fever, and the pill turns out to be fatal. Counterfeiters have become so expert in manufacturing the fake drugs and packaging them, that many times the packaging of counterfeit medicine looks more sophisticated than the genuine one. Spurious medicines are made in very unhygienic setups.
People don’t suspect the makeup, shampoo, creams, baby foods, etc. that they are using every day, may be fake. But the truth is counterfeiting is widespread and is a real danger to the society. Many fake makeup products were found to be positive for hazardous levels of chemicals like arsenic, mercury, nickel, lead, cobalt, chromium, copper, aluminium, and carcinogens like beryllium.
If I talk about Agro-chemicals, the chances are that up to 40% of the pesticides would be fake by 2019. Counterfeit pesticides damage the crops, may barren the farmland and are bad for the environment. Many farmers end up losing the source of livelihood because of using fake pesticides on their crop.
Counterfeiting eats up a big chunk of revenue of the rightful brands as they are able to sell the lesser products. As a result, they need lesser raw materials (affecting the business of the suppliers) and lesser workforce than they would need in the absence of the counterfeits.
Now, since the brands are able to make a lesser profit, they spend less money on R&D and innovations. Counterfeiting is very heart-breaking for the innovators as they put in a lot of imagination and time in coming up with an innovative and quality product and in no time the counterfeiters start reaping the benefits of their innovation by supplying the fake substandard quality products at lower cost.
As we all know, counterfeiting is an illegal business. So the chances are very high that they don’t follow the government norms for minimum wage and employee safety. Many times the workforce employed in fake products manufacturing is underpaid, and they are forced to work in unsafe setups. These manufacturers also don’t pay the taxes which means the government has lesser funds for improving the government schools, hospitals, roads, and other facilities for the citizens. Since the counterfeiting is an illegal activity, the chances are very high that the profit generated from it is used in funding other illicit activities such as money laundering, drugs, and human trafficking for forced labor, etc.
Kids are the future of the nation, but the counterfeiting puts a lot of them in health and safety risks. Counterfeiters even set up their authentic-looking websites. Many parents fall prey to the genuine-looking packaging and the websites. These unsuspecting parents buy products from them and unknowingly put their kids in risks. Many of the counterfeit toys contain thelead-based paints, which are poisonous and causes brain cell damage.
The companies have now started looking out for solutions and are accepting the technological solutions for fighting counterfeits. Government bodies from many countries have also initiated campaigns and made policies for companies to fight this problem.
Innovative products like NeuroTags have finally come up with AI-based solutions which seems to completely solve this problem for the majority of the cases and in few years counterfeiting can really be brought down to very low level and quality would be prevalent again.