Although the entry of counterfeit products into legitimate pharmaceutical distribution appear to remain limited, there is noticeable growth in trade in bulk products and APIs, according to the latest Brandjacking Index, compiled by MarkMonitor (San Francisco). These products become available to consumers who patronize illicit online pharmacies, and based on some rules of thumb of e-commerce, MarkMonitor estimates that the volume of such sales has reached $11 billion, up form $4 billion in 2007, the first time MarkMonitor performed its study.
MarkMonitor tracks online activity in pharmaceutical e-commerce (and other branded products subject to counterfeiting) by using proprietary algorithms to uncover instances of “cybersquatting”—improper use of brandnames in Internet domains. By following six leading pharmaceutical brandnames, it found 20,000 instances of cybersquatting, including 652 exchanges—up 67% from 2007. By analyzing the volumes available for sale and public records of online traffic, it can derive estimates of the online sources and volume of such trade.
The company provides “enterprise brand protection services” to brand owners through its online monitoring services. PC