Looking towards the future while learning from the past – counterfeits

Due to recent push to keep people indoors across the world has led to the increase in e-commerce and other internet-based purchasing activities. Unfortunately, this has led to the new golden times for counterfeiters to take advantage of this new opportunity for a quick profit.

Crisis is typically increasing the demand on items that are necessary in a crisis. We have seen Customs and Border Protection catch counterfeits of COVID-19 related items, such as test kits and protective gear all over the world.

But honestly, this is just a tip of the iceberg. If we want to take a closer look at the past, with other crisis such as Ebola, where initially there was no medicine available to threat the infected patients, counterfeits worked hard to get versions of common medication into the legitimate supply chain as the demand rose. Once a workable vaccine was developed, counterfeits shifted to produce fake versions of these vaccines. A quick way to make a profit, but at the same time extremely harmful to the population.

Already now, with the COVID-19 crisis we have seen the counterfeits attack test kits, masks, hand sanitizers and other medical supplies, again for the quick profit, and again harmful for the population. While the whole world is trying to find a cure for COVID-19, likely the first attempt is to treat symptoms and related infections with current medicines or combinations of thereof. If successful, these already existing medicines will be facing an immediate counterfeit problem. Since the demand volume will be high, so will the profits for the counterfeiters.

Taking a step forward towards the ultimate COVID-19 medicine and/or vaccine, which demand will be extremely high, instant and global. The volume will be greater than ever seen before with any medicine. This will open an unseen “holy grail” for counterfeiters to attack, in all fronts, everywhere. Likely the first counterfeit attempts will be poor and can be identified with the naked eye but will improve fast to be very good copies of the originals, so good that even professionals will have a hard time detecting them. This will likely happen on all continents, unfortunately at the same time.

“To stop or slow down the counterfeit attack(s), new next generation technologies must be utilized to hold back the criminal wave profiting from the COVID-19 crisis” says Jyrki Berg, CEO of TrueMed.

Despite the world being in a major crisis, counterfeiters do not care about the health of the population or other impacts they are causing for societies. It is all about fast profits with small risk.