Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Jul 21, 2003
Industry & Economy - Industry Associations
FICCI takes on spurious drug makers 'Raids reveal loopholes in distribution network'
New Delhi , July 20
MORE often than not, a consumer is vulnerable while buying his medicine - fully trusting his neighbourhood chemist to give him the authentic drug. Little does he know that he could be taking home a spurious, counterfeit or pass off product.
And even while the spurious issue is getting hi-decibel support from the Government and industry the forum that first set the ball rolling on tackling spurious products the Brand Protection Committee (BPC), under the aegis of the Federation of Indian Commerce and Industry (FICCI) is going the whole hog to protect the `vulnerable consumer', while defending the image of the "legitimate" pharma industry.
"One of the most effective ways of checking this `killer disease' is by aggressive public awareness campaigns. The industry and the Government's enforcement arm have to work in synergy. There is a need to change the legal structure and take punitive action against such manufacturers," FICCI officials told Business Line.
The industry is unanimous in that manufacturing and sale of spurious products should be made a criminal offence.
The BPC had kicked-off its anti-spurious campaign about a couple of years ago, starting with the FMCG segment. This was subsequently extended to lubricants, textile, pharma, music and agro processed products.
"The menace has disturbed the entire market. In fact, the innovative market like direct selling companies have been affected more," Dr Amit Mitra, Secretary-General, FICCI, said.
"Raids conducted have shown that it is the distribution network which needs to be tightened and FICCI is working in association with the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) to work out strategies," Dr Mitra said.
"FICCI and the members of the BPC recently met the Law Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, and apprised him of the situation," Dr Mitra stated. This could be a prelude to a legislation that the Union Health Minister has proposed for curbing this menace.
Apart from streamlining the distribution network, the companies can also work on their packaging. "Innovative packaging will help in curtailing the menace as it has been found that spurious manufacturers manage to get their act almost completely right with a similarity close to 75 per cent of the original packaging," he said.
According to industry estimates, spurious pharma products bore an expensive hole in the exchequer's kitty, up to almost Rs 4,000 crore. The estimates are almost double when it comes to spurious or counterfeits in the FMCG segment.
With a view to recommend a comprehensive action plan to counter this menace across the industry, FICCI has sought inputs from different segments to facilitate the cross sharing of knowledge.
Stories in this Section
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2003, The
Hindu Business Line. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of
The Hindu Business Line