According to some industry experts, counterfeit drugs kill nearly a million people a year and cost the pharmaceutical companies at least 200 million dollars a day. mPedigree Network, based in Accra, Ghana, has developed a highly effective and low cost method for combating this scourge.
Medicine bottles have codes that lie under scratch panels. mPedigree enables patients to remove these scratch panels and text in the code on cell phones. The customer is not charged to send such texts and since there are cell phones in the vicinity of pharmacies and other points at which medicines are dispensed, virtually all of Africa has access to mPedigree’s texting service. Within five seconds the consumer will receive a response indicating if the code is valid. If someone else already texted in the same code, the response will be negative. In the years ahead, as smart phones gain traction in Africa, users will be able to verify the status of medicines by emailing in pictures of the scratch panels from their camera phones.
The pharmaceutical companies that underwrite the cost of texting benefit from mPedigree’s services since mPedigree enables them to recoup lost sales, deters future counterfeiting, and preserves the phama companies’ brand values. Another benefit of mPedigree’s service is that the data that the system collects is fed into an algorithm which detects anomalies and thus identifies sources of evolving threats to public health.Counterfeit Drug Detection,