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Five Business Benefits of Product Track and Trace for Indian Pharmaceutical Companies

Digital disruption has completely altered the way several industries function. One only needs to look at the food and beverage, logistics, or transportation industries to see how digital solutions have made them more accessible and profitable. All of these sectors have benefited from track-and-trace solutions that help them have complete visibility of their product, from its origin to the point where it is handed over to the final customer. The pharmaceutical industry is one that is in desperate need of this technology, not only to boost business revenue but also to ensure the sanctity of a product that is crucial to life. According to IBEF, the pharmaceutical sector in India was valued at US$ 33 billion in 2017. India contributes to over 50 percent of the global demand for various vaccines and 20 percent of global exports of generic medicines in terms of volume, making it the largest provider of generic medicines globally.
All of this gives you a basic idea of the kind of supply and distribution chain that the Indian pharma sector is reliant on. The implementation of track-and-trace systems for Indian pharmaceutical companies can help them optimize this network, as well as branch out even further to create new markets and profit. Let’s take a look at some of the broad benefits that pharma companies can reap from track-and-trace systems.

Guarantee Authenticity

The biggest benefit of such a system would be for the customer, which of course, directly translates to benefits for the industry. With the right technology in place, customers can verify the origins and distribution route of the medicine that they are using. This gives the customer greater confidence about the product and guarantees authenticity.

Prevent Theft

Given the huge dependence on shipping for pharma export, the industry faces significant risk from thieves and smugglers. Freight Watch International has released statistics suggesting that drugs account for approximately 15% of the estimated US $8 billion to the US $12 billion of annual cargo theft, which amounts to well over US $1 billion annually. A serialization tracking system can help reduce that risk. By scanning the unique QR code of a particular product, one can go back through the supply chain to find exactly who was distributing stolen goods, making it much more difficult for thieves to sell stolen drugs legally.

Improve Supply Chain Logistics

Earlier, most pharma companies did not have visibility on their product once it left their factories. This led to a higher chance of avoidable delays, inefficient delivery, and even adulteration. The track-and-trace system will provide companies with complete visibility on their product, from manufacturing to delivery. This gives them the power to improve supply chain logistics by identifying bottlenecks and monitoring any kinds of suspicious activities.

Ensure Compliance

The pharmaceutical industry is strictly controlled by multiple compliances to ensure that the general public is not threatened by spurious, sub-standard medicine or placebos. Obtaining the proper compliance certification requires companies to demonstrate their manufacturing and distribution processes and prove that there is no scope for adulteration. Track-and-trace systems provide highly accurate data on this and can go a long way in providing evidence of the pharma company’s credentials all along with the manufacturing, packing, and supply chain.

Meet Export Requirements

For most pharma companies, the next step after compliance is export. The Indian government recently extended the date for implementation of track-and-trace networks till July 2019. According to the new regulations, the manufacturer or exporter of drug formulations will have to print the barcode as per the global standards at different packaging levels — primary, secondary, and tertiary, to facilitate tracking and tracing of their products. These are just some of the ways in which track-and-trace systems can help pharma companies achieve greater success. The decision to implement this technology is a no-brainer, so the big question now is who do you partner with to provide you with this system?O4S is one of India’s leading providers of supply chain management technologies. Our clients include some of the country’s biggest multinational companies. They depend on our product to guarantee their brand authenticity and we never fail to deliver. To learn more about the offerings, book an introductory demo at

Current Anti-Counterfeiting Technologies in use

We recently conducted a market survey to figure out the measures manufacturers are using to prevent counterfeiting. We took some popular products (Original) hallmarked with anti-counterfeiting measures on them, out on the streets to ask few questions from consumers. Here are the results:

1. Holograms (a great puzzle)

We all have seen colorful holograms on products. These holograms have particular patterns that ideally should exist only for Original products. More than 90% people have never checked holograms on the products while purchasing. Less than 1% people remembered unique pattern (s) on these holograms.
We asked companies how much they spend on holograms. To our surprise, Cost of holograms is in the range of INR 0.1 to 5. For a mid-size FMCG, about 10 million (Indian Rupees) is spent on hologram technology annually.
What we think? Counterfeit who’s able to replicate a product wouldn’t find it too difficult to replicate a hologram.

2. Seal (it can’t be broken if it already looks broken)

Isn’t it one thing we love doing the most — opening seal of a new mobile phone? You’d have notice a small piece of writing on it — “don’t buy if the seal is tampered”. More than 30% people have bought products with a tampered seal. Almost all of them were assured at the point of sale that tampered seal has nothing to do with the product’s originality.
What we think? There’s no-one stopping a counterfeit to replicate an original seal.

3. Looks

In age group of 15–25 years, people belonging to middle income families in Delhi & Mumbai about 50% have been fooled atleast once to purchase fake deodorants, apparels or shoes at the original price.
Counterfeits are investing heavily in printing and packaging technologies to come up with counterfeit products having more than 90% similarity with the Original product.

4. Barcodes

Most of the products carry barcodes on their packaging. These barcodes are not unique to a product, rather same for the entire batch of products manufactures at a time. Hence, it should never be used as a measure to verify for product’s originality.
Although some products like Laptops and Mobile Phones carry serial numbers that can be used to verify product’s originality. But the means to verify for product’s originality are not convenient enough to be used at Point of Sale.
Less than 1% electronics products carry unique serial numbers and none of FMCG products in India are uniquely serialized.
Less than 10% people check for product’s originality at the point of sale by using product’s unique serial number.

5. Last one — The corner shop a.k.a. “The Trusted Shop”

Last few anti-counterfeiting investigations revealed in most cases owners are themselves not aware if the procured batch is original or fake. Leakage occurs somewhere in the middle of product’s supply chain, wherein retailers are unaware about such a development.
If we’re fooled to purchase a fake sports T-Shirt, it wouldn’t be grave threat compared to a consuming a fake medicine or water. A lot of new-age technologies are available these days that are overt and hack-proof and can be used by consumers at the point of sale to verify for product’s originality.
O4S is a smart Anti-Counterfeiting & Consumer Engagement Technology Platform. We’re working with some of the most prominent companies globally to help them prevent counterfeiting. Also, helping consumer authenticate products at the point of sale by providing them with easy means using smartphones.
O4S is meeting some prominent companies who face counterfeiting and are willing to solve it. If you’re a brand owner, and want to understand about new-age anti-counterfeiting technologies, you can get in touch with us on
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