Why in news?
In an attempt to offset India’s growing reputation as a source of counterfeits, the Government plans to make bar coding obligatory on all drugs sold on the local market.
The reason behind it:
- Annual Special 301 Report on the Protection of Intellectual Property and the Review of’ notorious markets’ for piracy and counterfeiting released by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in April 2019 revealed that India is facing the growing problem of counterfeit medicines.
- Counterfeit is a term used in the context of trademark violations, and refers to an exact copy.
- Nearly 20% of all pharmaceuticals on the Indian market have been counterfeited.
- Reasons for counterfeit medicines market in India – limited access to medical care, especially in rural areas, fragmented supply chain, lack of consumer awareness, prevalent practice of self-medication, high cost of genuine medicines, weak enforcement of legislation and corruption, prevalence of online pharmacies, technology advancements in counterfeiting.
- The Special 301 report eventually ends up classifying countries into 3 groups:
- Priority Foreign Countries (PFC) – (Red Flag) – These are most egregious offenders – Ukraine is the only country placed here.
- Priority Watch List (PWL) – Serious offenders
- Watch List (WL) – Less serious offenders
- India has been placed on the ‘Priority Watch List’ (in total 11 countries) because of the issues around patent laws and processes in the country.
- Other countries include China, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
- 25 countries, including Pakistan, Turkey, UAE are on the watchlist.