Counterfeit products are a threat to consumer safety. It is almost impossible for consumers and retailers to spot the fakes. Counterfeiting has become so sophisticated that in some cases, even the companies whose own products have been duplicated can not differentiate between real and fake without performing quality tests.
Brand owners across the world suffer huge losses on account of counterfeit goods. Moreover, counterfeit pharmaceutical and food products pose serious risks to public health.
Traceability is an important tool in the fight against counterfeiting by enhancing visibility of supply chains. Traceability systems based on GS1 Global Traceability Standard such as the GS1 Traceability Standard for Healthcare (GTSH) enable verification and authentication of medical products throughout the global healthcare Supply Chain, thereby improving the safety and integrity of medical supplies.
GS1 identifiers and data capture technologies enable unique and universal identification of medical supplies throughout the Healthcare Supply Chains. On being identified, the products can then be easily cross-checked and verified online through a database at every point of the Supply Chain. When identification numbers match database content, the particular product can be regarded as authentic. Counterfeiters trying to break in would need a legitimate identification number registered in the database to enable authentication. In the worst case, if they do however manage, it would result in two packs of product with the same serial number in the Supply Chain, which would alert stakeholders when the second pack is cross-checked. The introduction of a unique identification for each and every pack of a medical product, where appropriate, enables traceability and authentication systems with readily available technology, making it much more difficult for counterfeiters to intrude into the supply chain.
GS1 is in a position to assist Industry sectors whose products are frequently counterfeited including cosmetics, electronics, automobile parts besides pharma drugs in implementing solutions using global standards which can facilitate counterfeit detection, product authentication and product diversions in the supply chains.