Mobile Phone Program Tackles Counterfeit Drug Market In Africa

December 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

In Africa, counterfeit prescription drugs are a colossal problem that is growing. Not only are the consumers in need of malaria drugs being duped, but doctors and medical buyers are as well. Luckily mPedigree Network, a nonprofit based in Ghana who advocates for development strategies to fight counterfeiting, has teamed up with Hewlett Packard (HP) to bring a new anti-counterfeiting program to Ghana and Nigeria.

As seen in the image above, the HP and mPedigree Network program requires a consumer to scratch off a label on their prescription bottle to reveal a verification code. This code can then be texted to a designated phone number for verification. mPedigree Network works with the pharmaceutical companies to insure that each prescription has its own unique code. HP’s secure “cloud” verifies that the medication is authentic and a text message is sent back to the consumer stating whether or not the prescription is authentic.

According to the World Health Organization, 10% of drugs globally are counterfeit and in developing countries as much as 25% of the drug market is counterfeit. Eliminating counterfeit drugs could save over 700,000 lives a year. In a recent interview with mPedigree Network Founder, Bright Simmons, he states that he has seen estimates that up to 60% of the legitimate supply chain of medicine in West Africa has been compromised. Shocking statistics for countries that need such medications the most.

Since mobile phones are very common in Ghana and Nigeria, this program will hopefully put a huge damper in the counterfeit drug industry. Best of all, it’s free.


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