The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gulping a Pepsi' Make sure it’s not Sipsi or Dipsi

Mumbai, Dec. 4: Industry loses Rs 2,600 crore annually from fake FMCG products. And the government loses about Rs 900 crore in revenue.

Ficci, which organised a seminar on Monday on counterfeit products to combat the menace, said that according to latest surveys, the industry and the government are incurring huge losses from fake products.

“There is even fake steel available in the market now,” said Bharat Patel, Procter and Gamble chairman, who is also the Ficci brand protection committee chairman.

“The counterfeit industry is worth Rs 30,000 crore annually. About 10 per cent of major soft drink brands and 10-30 per cent of cosmetics, toiletries and packaged foods are fake,” said Sujata Tiwari, who runs the brand protection panel. “There are Rs 4,000 crore worth of spurious drugs in the market,” she said. “About 61 per cent of computer software and 40 per cent of music are fake (pirated).”

Ficci collated three studies conducted by ORG Marg, AC Nielsen and BSA over the past two years to arrive at the estimate of losses caused by fake products, Tiwari said.

According to the brand protection team, there exist in the market at least 128 fakes of Parachute hair oil, 113 of Fair and Lovely, 44 of Vicks Vapour Rub, 38 of Clinic Plus shampoo, 34 of Dabur Amla hair oil, 28 of Sunsilk shampoo, 26 of Iodex balm, 12 of Pass-Pass mouth freshener, nine of Colgate toothpaste and seven of Pantene Pro-V shampoo. The more popular the brand, the more fakes it generates.

The ladies’ organisation of Ficci, Mumbai, which was launched on Monday alongside the seminar, stressed the health hazards from the fake products, especially from drugs and food items. Fake soft drinks may contain bacteria, yeast or even coli and may trigger stomach upsets or water-borne diseases.

A fake drink can usually be identified when held against light — particles and grains will show up unlike in an original. And not only will its production date be missing, the container cap may also be loose and the drink will have less fizz.

A fake toothpaste is very likely to come packed in an aluminium tube, when most major brands have shifted to plastic tubes. The toothpaste, that may be hard and with less foam, could cause gum diseases.

But the deadliest fakes are counterfeit drugs. Indian Pharma Alliance director general D.G. Shah, who said as much as 40 per cent of some drugs are fakes, warned that these could kill.

Sanjay Nandrajog, general manager, western region, Pepsico Holdings, referred to the Rajasthan case study to emphasise the wide availability of fakes. “After the Gujarat earthquake, a number of fake product makers from the state shifted base to Rajasthan. The state recorded a sudden drop in sales of Pepsi and a revenue loss of Rs 15 crore for the government. Twelve factories in Jaipur were sealed,” he said.

Some fakes are duplicates and some others are “pass-offs”, which are similar looking brands meant to be mistaken for the original. For example, Pepsi has numerous duplicates which are spurious drinks bottled as Pepsi and similar looking drinks called Sipsi, Dipsi and Tipsi, which are the pass-offs.

The seminar addressed the consumer, especially the woman consumer, who is responsible for making most of the household purchase decisions.

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