Exploding rates of counterfeit products
A recent report by the Tax and Custom Police, disclosed that between January 1 and October 8, 2014, more than 16 million of counterfeit products, including clothing, foodstuffs, automobile units and tobacco were seized during actions against counterfeiting in Colombia.
Beer, energy drinks, agricultural machinery, powdered milk, cooking and engine oil and make-up are just some of the new and varied products illegally created in Colombia during the past few years. Traditionally, the list of counterfeit products was led by liquors, clothing, books, films, CDs, medicaments, money and documents.
In 2012, beer became big counterfeit business in Colombia. According to a police investigator, there are two methods that forgers are using to produce counterfeit beer. The first one is bringing cheap beer from China and Venezuela and repack it in national bottles and cans. The second and most dangerous method consists of refilling original beer with water and producing the foam by means of soaps and detergents. Since 2012, more than 750 of this type of products have been seized in Bogotá. Shockingly, more than 24% of the alcoholic beverages consumed in Colombia are counterfeit or adulterated, according to the Colombian Association of Liquor Companies.
Regarding powdered milk, the police spokesperson explains how forgers buy jars of known trademarks from recyclers, fill them with cheap powdered milk brought from Venezuela and mix them with sugar, flour and even white cement. Some of these clandestine factories use the same method to produce counterfeit medicaments and multivitamin complexes. According to the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, between 2008 and 2012, 415 of these cases were uncovered in Colombia, which represents 20% of the problem in Latin America and represents 4% worldwide. Since 2013, the Bogotá police have confiscated at least 390,000 counterfeit medicines.