What is the best way for you to protect your brand? While counterfeit products are harmful to every manufacturer, they are especially dangerous to pharmaceutical companies. Fake medications have the potential to kill people, where a phony purse just might not last as long.
You need to work on protecting patients and your business. Here is a simple blueprint for protecting your brand from counterfeit medicines.
Pre-Launch Brand Protection Measures
Plans to protect your brand from counterfeiters need to start before a new drug is even launched. You need to develop a coordinated campaign that includes patient education, technology, and supply chain management best practices.
Remember that counterfeiters are always looking at your vulnerabilities as opportunities for growth. You cannot afford to give them a head start.
Brand protection measures need to be as important as other top-level concerns like regulatory compliance and marketing.
One top-level executive should be placed in charge of creating a brand protection plan for each new product.
The reason counterfeiters exist is that there are people who buy their products. You need to take steps to curb the demand for counterfeit products, not just attack the supply.
Why do patients buy counterfeit drugs? There are three main reasons:
Lack of prescription
Patients are not intentionally risking their health. You need to work to educate patients about the risks that counterfeit drugs present to their health. Many consumers do not even realize that the drugs they are buying are counterfeit.
They often believe they are getting a good deal.
The more patients understand the risks of buying and using fake medications, the less demand there will be.
Doctor and Pharmacist Outreach
The truth is most patients do not want to hear from the manufacturer of their medication. Most do not understand the pharmaceutical industry, and many of them are distrustful of the pharmaceutical industry.
However, these patients do trust their doctors and pharmacists. You need to reach out to doctors and pharmacists to enlist their help in educating patients about the dangers of counterfeit medications. You can even supply them with educational materials that can freely distribute to patients.
You all want to help keep patients safe.
Monitoring Online Pharmacies
Many online pharmacies operate in a legal gray zone. Others are clearly operating to distribute counterfeit drugs. You need to have people in your organization who monitor online pharmacies.
When you find ones that advertise your drugs, you need to investigate.
Online pharmacies are the primary entry point for counterfeit drugs in many markets around the world. If you find ones selling fake medications, you need to work to shut them down as quickly as possible.
Targeting Counterfeit Enablers
Most counterfeit rings rely on a network of legitimate businesses to distribute their products. While it is often almost impossible to put direct pressure on counterfeiters themselves, you can target businesses that enable the sale and manufacture of counterfeit medicines.
Some common enabling businesses are web hosting companies, payment processing companies, and online advertising distributors.
You can work with law enforcement and regulators to highlight how these businesses are profiting from counterfeit drugs. In some cases, you may also be able to take direct legal action against these enabling businesses.
You don’t have unlimited resources. One way you can make the most of the resources you do have to stop fake drugs is to focus on trouble spots. India and China are traditionally weak points in the global pharmaceutical supply chain.
Often counterfeiters will get the ingredients they need from the same suppliers you use.
By focusing anti-counterfeiting measures on these two countries, you will be dealing with the source of 90% or more of your fake medication issues.
Packaging Shelf Life
How secure is your packaging? Are you in full compliance with all serialization regulations and best practices?
The more expensive you can make it for the counterfeiters, the better chance you have of limiting the number of fake drugs on the market.
You also need to plan on periodically updating your packaging security features. New technologies will make your products more secure, and making changes makes it harder for counterfeit rings to keep up.
Fighting counterfeit drugs can seem overwhelming. But, protecting your brand is essential for the health of your patients and your future financial viability.