The Critical Role of Investigation in Pharmaceutical Brand Protection

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It is difficult to maintain the security and integrity of the pharmaceutical supply chain. Fake medicine may range from <10% in a developed market, to more than 30% in South East Asia, or greater than 50% in samples from online sellers. This is a burden of billions of dollars on the global pharmaceutical industry.

Use of intellectual property provisions, packaging innovations and other tracking systems through the distribution chain, online monitoring, market surveillance and auditing of partners all have a role to play in achieving the security of pharmaceutical product. These elements typically come together under the banner of a brand protection program.

Investigation is also a vital part of effective brand protection programs. This goes much deeper than market surveillance, and will typically involve a range of activities:

  1. Target profiling and collection of evidence: checks and verification of identities and locations, conduct of undercover monitoring of suspects and collection of evidence, and acquisition of samples for testing and verification.
  2. Enforcement support: assistance (where requested from authorities) once a search warrant is granted from the courts. This will include support for raids and task force operations.
  3. Provision of Post-Enforcement Assistance and Analysis: interviews and seizure processing are two activities that ensure full utilization of information that SMCS Risk has provided, We also collect new and potentially useful data, and assist the full implementation of any relevant procedures within the remit of authorities.

Deep police expertise and an established network are prerequisites for this type of comprehensive service. This service lays a solid foundation for subsequent enforcement activities through legal systems and relevant government agencies. The reality is that many of the governments of low and lower-middle income countries need the help to achieve results. Enforcement agencies often face low levels of resourcing, and many competing priorities. Pharmaceutical companies need to know where their product is and assist enforcement agencies to identify and seize illegal or fake pharmaceutical products.

The inclusion of investigation activities is where a pharmaceutical brand protection program gains the ‘teeth’ to deliver disruption and apprehension of those involved in criminal importation and distribution activities. This is a rare achievement amongst the brand protection programs implemented by the pharmaceutical industry.

Contact us to discuss your brand protection requirements.