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Tackling and Fighting Counterfeits Using 3D Technologies
Pradip Shroff, President, Hologram Manufacturers' Association of India (HOMAI) Counterfeiting is a high-margin business and a crime, and measuring the right amount of counterfeit products in the market place is notoriously difficult. Although counterfeiting technologies are developed, identifying and authenticating genuine drugs are still a major challenge today. The article gives an outlook of novel counterfeiting technologies developed by members of the association named Hologram Manufacturers’ Association of India (HOMAI).

As per various media reports, counterfeiting is prevalent in India. The estimate of counterfeiting depends on the nature of the study design and how it is evaluated. There are reports of as low as 3 per cent to 25 per cent and even more. The media and association estimate more than 20-25 per cent drug are counterfeit in India although, the government figures are different from it. The SEARPharm Forum in Association with WHO (SEARO) carried out a survey on the extent of spurious (counterfeit) medicines in India in 2007 and collected 10,743 drug samples containing 56 popular brands belonging to 12 therapeutic categories.

According to their report, extents of counterfeit suspects were to the tune of 3.1 per cent. Counterfeiting is a high-margin business and measuring the right amount of counterfeit products in the market place is notoriously difficult. We need to understand that the counterfeiting affects many a) To a consumer, it is cheating and at times risk to life. b) To government, it is a loss of tax revenue c) To a brand owner, it is a loss of brand image, sales and profits. There are reports that the profit made by such illegal means also supports illegal activities including funding of terrorist.

Measures and Technologies to Prevent Counterfeiting
A pharmaceutical company is expected to assess the risk involved due to counterfeiting and develop an appropriate mitigation plan. The typical goal of the brand owner would be to protect the complete physical chain from manufacturing to consumer so that counterfeit drugs do not enter the chain.

This is like defending the border of a nation. One requires a multiple approach to identify and authenticate genuine drugs and have a regular surveillance programme to check infiltration and in case of a violation take appropriate legal actions. The Government of India allows a pharmaceutical company using a hologram to add the cost of hologram while approving the price of a drug. Recently, Government of India has also allowed cost of using another track and trace technology, however this has not been widely used due to its cost etc.

Thus, security Holograms are the most frequently used solution. The effectiveness of every defense technology is associated with its proper usage at the right time. There are no specific reports being published by Indian company. However, global companies like GSK, abbot etc report in their annual accounts to share holder actions taken by them in this fight. (Ref. GSK Corporate Responsibility Report)
http://www.gsk. com/reportsandpublications.htm)

Association to Tackle Counterfeits
Hologram Manufacturers’ Association of India (HOMAI) was formed in 1998; is an industry body of manufacturers and suppliers of holographic Optically Variable Device (OVD) and its allied products in India. It is the only association in India, which is working on advancement of holography technology. Since its inception, it has been encouraging its members to adopt best practices, standards and usage of advance technology in providing cost effective solution against counterfeiting.

Technologies Supported by HOMAI
A technology development is done by the companies who are members of HOMAI, using their own R&D or by acquiring the same from some of the Global leaders. Typically all technologies can be classified in three categories:

• Technologies that can be verified by human eye (Overt);
• Technologies that requires unique tools/ device to authenticate (covert technologies); and
• Technologies that requires forensic tools to authenticate.

HOMAI members can provide all the three categories technologies in their security holograms.

Current Hologram Technologies Developed by HOMAI

It is very important to recognise that a technology helps in the fight against counterfeiting. One needs unique, difficult to copy overt, covert and forensic technologies in the solution.HOMAI members can provide all three types of technologies and customise them for each customer. HOMAI members can also integrate and incorporate track and trace technologies like taggants, barcodes etc. Counterfeiters are working 24/7 to develop look-a-like and similar type of technologies. It is for these reasons that all solutions are unique to a customer, bound by a confidentiality arrangement and cannot be brought out in public. Typically, some of the exclusive technologies are known only to a few select senior executives in a company.

An important benefit is that HOMAI members are bound by a code of conduct and can also register specific holographic design with CIB London.

One recent example is HOMAI has developed 'TUV-HOMAI Hologram Safety & Security Management Systems (HSSMS)' standards along with TUV Rheinland, a first in the world, security and safety standards to upgrade hologram suppliers' facilities/ process. HOMAI members companies will now work with TUVR and audit their activities against these standards.

This new initiative has been evolved to provide an independent assessment of the security system to enable customer select the best partner in developing and supplying solutions against counterfeiting.

Another example is that HOMAI in India and International Hologram Manufacturers’ Association have actively worked with ISO in developing IS0 global standard 12931 titled ‘Performance criteria for authentication tools used in anticounterfeiting or material goods’. These standards have been designed to help the brand owners in identifying most relevant anti-counterfeiting solution to meet the company / organization strategy. It is published on 1 June, 2012 and can be seen on
http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_ detail?csnumber=52210.0.

Counterfeiting Free India?
It will be quite a challenge to have a world with no counterfeiting. It is like expecting a crime free society. One can reduce the crime rate but so long as there is greed for more with least efforts it will be difficult to eliminate criminal mindset. HOMAI and its members will certainly contribute in the fight to reduce the crime rate by being innovative and continuously developing solutions with new technologies and strategies to deploy them to desist, catch and prosecute a criminal.