Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bags, Balls and Bad Medicine

This week has seen yet more bad news about the growing problem of fakes. Is the problem an increasing number of fakes, or an increased awareness? Nobody knows for sure.

  • Spalding is busting someone's balls in China (sorry) ... fake balls claiming to be Spalding's. They estimate the extraordinarily precise figure of 5.6 fake balls being sold for every real one. As we often hear, the company is not getting a lot of suport from local officials - who are reluctant to crack down. Expect this problem to get MUCH worse as the olympics near. We predict that any brand associated with the Olympics will be counterfeited.
  • Once again, fakes have (allegedly) shown up at WalMart. This time, LVMH is suing Sam's Club for stocking what it claims are fake Fendi handbags. WalMart is maintaining they are real - but it's not the first time this has happened. WalMart settled similar claims by Tommy Hilfiger, Polo and Nautica. What is amazing is that retailers and shoppers cannot easily verify if the product is real or not (or diverted). WalMart's defense may well be: "we couldn't tell they were fake". Fendi obviously doesn't want its high end brand associated with the bargain basement big box retailer - so perhaps they should give their customer's a way to authenticate they're getting the real deal?
  • A recent report out once again shows how enormous and tragic the crime of counterfeit anti-malarial drugs has become. While high speed drug testing equipment may work - it is pitiful that this lifesaving drug still relies on a crummy hologram (that has been counterfeiting 12 different times) for protection. We have blogged about this problem before - but the global health agencies seem slow to tackle the problem. Who will step in and save the millions of children affected by malaria, and potentially at risk from substandard, adulterated, or no-efficacy drugs?