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'Vocal for Local will be extremely potent tool in fight against illicit trade' 

Millennium Post , Jan 22, 2021

Noting that the healthcare products industry is one of the most common targets for counterfeiters, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said "vocal for local" will be an extremely potent tool in India's fight against illicit trade.

Vardhan, who inaugurated the 7th edition of "MASCRADE -- Movement against Smuggled and Counterfeit Trade" organised by the FICCI Cascade, said businesses and industries must come together and partner with the government in becoming a greater force in the fight against this growing threat, with the ultimate goal of keeping consumers safe.

Speaking on the benefits of a self-reliant India, Vardhan said as the country starts to produce strong domestic brands and gradually reduces its dependence on foreign products, avenues for profiteering by smugglers and counterfeits will soon become limited.

"Vocal for local will be an extremely potent tool in our fight against illicit trade," he said.

"Illegal operators are taking advantage of the Coronavirus pandemic by providing illicit alternatives of essential and non-essential items both online and offline. The pandemic has sadly illustrated that healthcare products will continue to be one of the most commonly-targeted industries for counterfeiters. This is a problem that impacts patients and consumers across the globe," the minister said.

He said amid the chaos created by COVID-19, illicit players have used the pandemic for their nefarious activities, causing significant damage to the economy of the nation and the health and safety of people worldwide.

Vardhan said various technologies like barcodes, holograms, radio-frequency devices are available to protect consumers.

"These technologies although provide considerable protection, they have certain limitations. They only help in general detection and authentication," the minister said.

He said the methods by which spurious, misbranded and adulterated drugs enter the distribution channel have become increasingly complex.

"Weak points in the distribution processes of pharmaceutical products provide an avenue for the entry of such products in the supply chain. This is an issue where industry players can play an active role to help identify and plug these loopholes.

"There is an urgent need for our citizens to better understand the difference between fake and original goods. We need to highlight the fact that smuggling, counterfeit trade and piracy hold back progress, the health of the economy, raise the cost of goods, lead to tax evasion, hamper job creation and create safety hazards for consumers. From the economic point of view the world seems to have changed as the reset button has been pressed," Vardhan said.

More inter-governmental efforts and public private alliances are needed in identifying approaches needed for the development of a holistic strategy, he added.

 

 

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Event:

 MASCRADE 2021: Impact of Counterfeiting and Smuggling on Personal Health and Safety