Battling fake medicines : Bilcare play a crucial role
Companies such as Bilcare play a crucial role in enabling the
authentication of medicines
Most of us generally take it for granted that the medicine we buy from the neighbourhood chemist is genuine. For if it is not, the consequences can quickly spin out of control, even before anyone can guess what went wrong. But the uncomfortable truth is: as much as 20-25 per cent of all medicines sold in India could be counterfeit! While the precise figure varies from country to country, and from year to year, several studies have placed the proportion of fake medicines at about this level. While the nature of counterfeiting can vary: sometimes it is an insufficient quantity of medicine, or plain chalk; at other times, it’s a completely wrong medicine! But a lot of times, the manufacturing companies depend on the packaging design and reliability to differentiate the counterfeit product from the genuine. And this is where companies such as the Pune-based Bilcare Ltd play a crucial role. Bilcare’s showpiece technology is its nonClonableID, which enables products to be authenticated as they move through the supply chain to the end consumer, thus protecting brands and preventing misuse. It also provides a reliable means for effective track-n-trace and e-pedigree of products across the supply chain – from manufacturer to consumer. The nanotechnology-based system comprises a fingerprint that can be seamlessly integrated into any supply chain system. This is of critical importance because the Indian pharmaceutical market is extremely diversified; a typical medium-sized pharmaceutical manufacturer might have to deal with as many as 5,000 stockiest and distributors and perhaps 250,000 retail chemists all across the country! Clearly there is unlimited scope and opportunity for fake drugs to slip through the system. And this affects not just Indian companies but also MNC’s whose products are often cutting edge and expensive. “Bilcare’s strong research team has enabled us to expand the application of our nonClonableID technology to other sectors such as fmcg, electronic components, the auto industry and even the fashion industry,” says Bilcare founder chairman, Mohan Bhandari.
In addition, the company has built a variety of tiny features into the packaging materials that it offers to its pharmaceutical customers. One of them, for example, is to micro-print the manufacturer’s name in minute, barely visible, size in the form of a ring on the aluminum foil of a tablet. This enables the drug manufacturer’s audit teams to quickly identify the fake products at the distributor or even retail chemist level! Another is to create images of droplets of varying sizes and shapes on the aluminum foil, or to incorporate a change of color into the packaging material. These technologies also help to avoid mistakes by the patient or the chemist, particularly when the doctor’s prescription is misplaced, discolored or damaged in some form or other. An interesting service that the company offers its customers is known as Bilcare Optima, which helps major pharmaceuticals select the form and quality of packaging materials that would be best suited for their products. Before this was introduced, it was often seen that medicinal formulations such as tablets, capsules, etc, would either degenerate in extreme conditions because of improper packaging or the packaging cost would escalate beyond acceptable limits. Besides, if the problems were discovered after the product was submitted to the us FDA or European regulators, the entire process of documentation and filing
would have to be repeated! The expenses involved in this entire procedure would completely upset the commercial calculations of manufacturer. These product offerings, along with a range of child resistant packaging and materials that can survive wide variations of climate and temperature, have made it possible for Bilcare to attract more than 2,500 companies in over 50 countries all over the world. Over the past decade or two, they have also transformed Bilcare into a global brand. Just last month, Bilcare: was recognized as one of the Admired 100 Brands & Leaders of Asia-2014-15 by WVP World Brands for which leading management consultancy firm Ernst & Young served as process advisor. Admired 100 Asia was launched under The Asian Brand Conclave in New Delhi. The conclave was attended by luminaries of marketing, advertising, corporate leaders from different industries and backgrounds, CEO’s, Asian entrepreneurs, VIP’s and other dignitaries. Admired 100 Asia is a research based listing of 100 brands across different categories. An industry research across a total of 25 categories in Asia was conducted on an initial list of 2,000 brands and short-listed to 100.