With counterfeit components it’s not just reliability and cost saving at stake, it is lives and welfare.
You might be forgiven for thinking its only the quality of the product that is affected but the reality is if you don’t spot the counterfeit you are putting the consumer at risk. This is most apparent in the Aerospace sector, only last week there were two high profile incidents in the UK both resulting in the loss of life, although the reasons behind the crashes are yet to be confirmed mechanical and component failures account for 22% of all aviation accidents.
This begs the question of what more can be done, distributors have adapted well and can identify counterfeits more reliably, but stopping the counterfeit components entering the supply chain is proving more challenging.
A small start-up in Africa has shown that even with large amounts of counterfeit medicine on the market, reassuring the consumer that what they are buying is the real thing is still possible. By working alongside drug manufacturers they implemented a system which enabled consumers to check the authenticity of the product by sending a code on the product by text message.
When the medicine is manufactured each dose is given a unique code hidden behind a scratch-able surface which is stored on a database, when the code is sent via a text message the authenticity is confirmed and the code is crossed off the list preventing counterfeiters from copying it.
This greatly restricts the ability for counterfeiters to mimic the real product, but it is still reliant on the consumer being aware of the system that is in place and their willingness to follow it.
Ultimately thoroughly testing and buying from authorised distributors will in turn minimise the risk of counterfeits making it into the end product and in turn reduce the risk to consumers.