Pharmaceutical brandjacking increases as scammers use brand names to 'cybersquat'

News by SC Staff

There has been a growth in online medical brand abuse.

There has been a growth in online medical brand abuse.

According to MarkMonitor's latest Brandjacking Index, there has been a growth in pharmaceutical brandjacking for popular medical brands. It also found a parallel online system of pharmaceutical supply and demand, fuelled by continued growth in listings for pharmaceuticals on business-to-business (B2B) exchange sites as well as increased traffic to illicit pharmacies. 

As more people try to save money when purchasing pharmaceuticals as more companies look to streamline operations, especially in the current economy, the cost savings and efficiencies of e-commerce become even more attractive, presenting a tempting opportunity for online fraud and brand abuse on both the supply and demand side of the equation.

According to the summer 2009 edition of the MarkMonitor Brandjacking Index, online pharmacies have increased their market footprint, growing to an estimated $11 billion in sales in 2009, up from an estimated $4 billion in 2007.

Listings on B2B exchange sites show strong signs of growth for bulk quantities of pills and active pharmaceutical ingredients in powder form, increasing 23 per cent in 2009 from 2008. Listings for pharmaceuticals have grown 67 per cent on B2B exchange sites since 2007, when MarkMonitor completed its first study of pharmaceutical brandjacking online. 

To complete the study, MarkMonitor chose six leading prescription drug brands and examined nearly 20,000 instances of cybersquatting, including hits on 3,000 online pharmacies and 652 B2B exchange listings for those brands during July 2009.

Frederick Felman, chief marketing officer at MarkMonitor, said: “Scammers are opportunists, and by targeting the supply chain they're positioning themselves to move the greatest amount of fake product they can. This maximises their return on the scam but it also poses a potential danger to peoples' health and safety, not to mention brand reputation.”

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