Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Putting the Brakes on Counterfeit Truck Brake Parts?

Among the world of fake products, probably one that grabs the imagination best is counterfeit brake parts on big rigs and school buses. Substandard fake parts are a serious problem for legitimate manufacturers - who also have to tackle 'will-fit' aftermarket parts that are not technically counterfeit, but are widely used.

A recent article in Fleet Equipment magazine discussed the challenges facing the manufacturers. The remedies proposed were focused heavily on tightening purchasing guidelines (to prevent knowingly purchasing cheap knock-offs) and legal remedies, such as patenting a part number. We believe that, given the counterfeiters ability to make convincing look-alikes, the manufacturers should take steps to enable customers to more easily spot fakes.

Counterfeit Drugs Claim a N.American victim

While counterfeit drugs have long suspected to be in the system, and causing problems from contamination or lack of efficacy, this is the first news report of a death in N. America definitively linked to purchases of counterfeit drugs online.

Specifically, the victim had
dangerously high levels of metals, including aluminum (15 µg/g), phosphorus, titanium, tin, strontium, arsenic and other metals in [her] liver.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Is there a sudden splurge of fake toothpaste ... ?

... or are we just more aware of them now?

Fake Sensodyne toothpaste contaminated with DEG was found in the UK today. Counterfeit Colgate toothpaste has shown up in 6 US states and Canada (the counterfeiters conveniently misspelled
"SOUTH AFRLCA" so that it was easier to spot them) - forcing the company to put up a warning site.

There is even a shrill website dedicated to the crisis ( - which helpfully warns its visitors:

"Please THROW AWAY ALL YOUR TOOTHEPASTES and re-buy some more TOOTHEPASTE, non-toxic, WE DON'T WANT TO DIE!!!"
Pity about the spelling.

Chances are, counterfeit toothpaste (along with many other CPGs) have long been sneaking into the gray supply chain through dollar stores, car boot sales, flea markets, and the internet. But now the public radar is up about 'contaminated' products ... and "toxic toothpaste" makes a heck of a headline.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Can you sell virtual counterfeits in Second Life?

This is definitely out of our domain - but too convoluted and fascinating to ignore: an avatar (an online representation of a real person) in Second Life is attempting to sue another avatar (but in real life) for counterfeiting an online virtual 'product'. (Read Wired's coverage). It's not at all clear what law may have been broken, if any, or even in which country the lawsuit would apply. One problem (of many) is that the defendant avatar, Volkov Catteneo, is, of course, not using his real name. And no-one knows his real name. We won't reveal the counterfeited virtual product ... but it sells for 46 real US dollars, apparently. Confused?
The World's Easiest Product to Counterfeit

Sometimes counterfeiters go to extraordinary lengths to make fake products - such as Cisco products or re-marking microprocessors. But sometimes they just literally turn on a tap. Fake water. With the growth of bottled water (a $15bn industry in the US) worldwide, it is an obvious target for fakers. Harvest some empty containers from the trash, get new closures, and ... bingo ... you're in the water business.

Indeed a recent survey found that 50% of the barreled water in China (similar to bottled water, but specifically for coolers) is counterfeit. Suffice it to say, there are no controls on water contaminants or bottling cleanliness.

US bottled water is far safer ... but it is surprisingly easy to buy 'tamper evident' closures that can be used to cap refilled bottles.

One solution is to put a security code on a tamper evident label across the closure - thereby detecting illegal recapping. One water company in the US already puts security codes on its 5 Gallon tamper evident closures.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"NOT Made in China" is the new differentiator

With all the panic breaking out about the deluge of counterfeit, contaminated, toxic, and otherwise unsavory products coming out of China, it was only a matter of time before some manufacturers took matters into their own hands ... and advertised their total lack of Chinese content. This may work for some, but globalization is here to stay - and manufacturers will need to sustainable ways to source safe goods and assure consumers of such. For those who have followed this blog, you'll know that this is not so much a sudden surge in fakes, but the scales falling from consumers eyes to the threat that has been there and building for several years.

Here's a roundup of recent news about fakes:

  • The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) in conjunction with Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) have launched a standards task force to define the use of security codes to protect components and assemblies from counterfeiting, re-marking and repackaging. YottaMark is proud to be a part of that effort.
  • No-one can accuse China of soft punishment for counterfeit drugs. The (ex) head of the FDA was executed this week for taking bribes that lead to counterfeit drugs reaching the market and leading to the deaths of at least 10 people. However, worldwide, the penalties for counterfeiters are widely considered to be too light to deter the crime.
  • A fake Sanyo cell phone battery exploded in China - killing the phone's owner. Exploding cell phone batteries have been heard of before - but this is the first time it's been fatal.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Bogus Online Pharmacies Competing with ... other bogus online pharmacies

We received this spam email recently ... among the many for online pharmacies. What caught our attention (other than the poor grammar) was the the fact that it tries to use reverse psychology (and official sounding titles) to bait consumers.


Do you buy pharmaceuticals online? The US NMA was specifically established to protect the consumer. Our experts check every online shop for bogus medicines. The blacklist of unreliable or simply fraud shops is updated every week. We strongly recommend to visit our site before buying any medical products online.

The common ways of online cheating are:
- delivery of low quality or fraud products.
- an enormous delay (up to 2-3 months) in delivery of products.
- shops obtain all the credit cards numbers and other credit information and then simply send nothing.
- shops sell unlicensed products they know nothing or very little about.
- shops themselves don't have a license to sell the pharmaceuticals.

Please check our blacklist of unreliable and fraud shops before buying any medical products online!!! Protect your family and yourself.