Asia accounts for the biggest share of the trade in counterfeit medicines, according to the industry-funded organisation, the Pharmaceutical Security Institute.
Developing countries are an obvious target for counterfeiters, because the cost of legitimate drugs may be beyond the reach of much of the population and legal controls are often weak. In developing countries, almost 10 per cent to 30 per cent of drugs are counterfeited with almost $ 200 billion (Sh20.63 trillion) global annual loss caused by drug counterfeiting.
As per the 2016 International Trade Administration Top Market Reports on Pharmaceuticals, estimates on the size of the global Fake Drugs market range from $ 75 to $ 200 billion and can make up half of all drugs sold in some low-income countries.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that up to 30 per cent of branded drugs sold in developing nations are counterfeit which can have profound implications for both patients and the brand. Over 30 per cent of medicines on sale in Kenya are counterfeit. Since 2013, WHO has received 1,500 reports of cases of substandard or falsified products. Out of the falsified products, antimalarial drugs and antibiotics are the most commonly reported.
Footwear is the most copied item and the industry has been pushing governments to take action. Knockoffs of popular footwear brands is a big business for counterfeiters as most people seem willing to pay for fake footwear that is close to the real brand.
Fake shoe brands are so good and sophisticated that law enforcement agencies admit it is increasingly hard to spot counterfeit footwear. More than 1,900 seizures of designer and athletic shoes last year worth at least $100 million occurred last year. Fake Nike Shoes are among most counterfeited goods in the World where they are worth between $ 5 to $ 200 on the counterfeit market.
3. DVDs and CDs
Classified as “Optical Media”, CDs, DVDs and other products make up about three per cent of the counterfeit goods seized. Shipped in mostly from Asia and smuggled through the region’s porous borders or through legitimate ports staffed by corrupt officials, they affect virtually all areas of trade. Some DVDs are clearly counterfeits told by the jumpy images but other counterfeit media is not as obvious.
Amazon was accused of selling counterfeit music CDs and concerns about third-party sellers of counterfeit DVDs prompted Amazon to change its policy for such sellers. Fake DVDs and CDs can be spotted in several ways including the appearance of the bottom of the disc. If it is green, purple or otherwise coloured, then it is one that is been recorded (possibly illicitly) and not produced in an authorised factory.
4. Automotive and aerospace parts
In US, given its economy’s stability, it is reported that two per cent of counterfeit goods its agents seize are automotive and aerospace parts. A large percentage is produced in China, which accounts for more than 80 per cent of the goods seized at US borders.
However, other countries such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Russia, India, Pakistan and Uruguay have also been reported as major exporters of counterfeit goods. Fake car parts including faulty air bags from China are flooding the motor industry.
Counterfeiters cheaply replicate auto parts and sell them as branded or at least reliable substitute products. The counterfeiters pocket the money, and the unsuspecting buyer takes the risk of injury or death if a key part, such as an airbag, fails. The Federal Trade Commission estimates the market for fake car parts at approximately $12 billion a year.
5. Labels and tags
Labels are a subset of the packaging industry, and packaging is a subset of retail, commercial and industrial product markets. All of these are subsets of the counterfeiting industry. Fake designer labels are all over.
They make up two percent of the counterfeit goods seized by federal agents. Some are likely used for fun, gag gifts and more while others are put on handbags, clothing and other items to con customers. The global anti-counterfeit packaging market was estimated at $107.26 billion in 2016 and is projected to reach $ 206.57 billion by 2021.
6. Computers and accessories
Sophisticated computer equipment is expensive and that is why counterfeit computers and accessories account for two per cent of items seized. Everything from computer chips to charging cords, smart phones, tablets and PCs are counterfeited and sold. In fact the International Anti Counterfeiting Coalition reports there is $100 billion worth of counterfeit tech hardware on the market.
7. Consumer electronics
According to 2016 data, eight to 10 per cent of all technology goods sold worldwide are counterfeits with estimated revenue of $100 billion lost. Through fakes and imitations of genuine products, counterfeiters are getting rich at the expense of brand owners.
In this respect, they do not stop at any product: everything is counterfeited, from smart phones, cameras, tablets, laptops and storage media such as memory cards or USB sticks through to headphones, smart watches and gaming consoles right up to accessories such as charging devices, accumulators, batteries and protective covers.
8. Watches and jewelry
The value of seized imitation watches and jewelry grew by 168.9 per cent between 2012 and 2013, considerably more than that of any other commodity. In total, the value of watches seized was more than half a billion dollars in 2013. Last year, there were 1,729 seizures, 21 per cent less than there were in 2012.
Fake versions of high-end watches, which retail for thousands of dollars, boost the values of counterfeits seized. The Federation of Swiss Watch Industry estimated that some 120,000 imitation watches were seized worldwide in 2013 standing at 29 per cent while the Manufacturers’ Suggested Retail Price of seized goods stood at $ 502.8 million.
9. Handbags and wallets
Handbags and wallets were again the most seized counterfeited products in 2015. The roughly 2,200 shipments seized had a total MSRP of more than $700 million, accounting for 40 per cent of the total value of all goods seized. Because these products are valued so highly, a drop in total handbag and wallet seizures between 2014 and 2015 did not correspond with a drop in the market value of the items seized. In fact, while seizures fell by 17 per cent in that time, the value of goods seized rose 37 per cent, or by nearly $189 million.
10. Apparels and accessories
According to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Rayban, Rolex and Louis Vuitton are the most copied accessories’ brands worldwide with Nike being the most counterfeited globally. Further, more than 60 per cent of the sports goods available online are counterfeit while in the case of apparels, at least 40 per cent of the listings available are by duplicate manufacturers.