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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

SMS aids fight against fake drugs

With the announcement that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) subscribed to the concept of using Short Messaging Service (SMS) to check the influx of fake drugs in the country, more African countries are likely to key-in, reports AP.

ITRealms Online recalled that last July, NAFDAC said that with the introduction of SMS with a given code consumers in the country should be able to use on all medicines as soon as possible after certification via SMS.

“Consumers can now take the war against counterfeit drugs into their own hands,” according to the Director-General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul B. Orhii, while announcing this development.

The report also noted that for Africans wondering whether the malaria drugs they’ve bought are real, there may soon be a quick way of finding out, basically through sending a text message.

Equally, the report noted that across the continent, over 30 per cent of malaria medicines are estimated as fake, and are usually difficult to identify.

According to the report, a new project called mPedigree allows consumers to send in a code via text message which enables them to check if their drugs are genuine, especially on malaria drugs.

Ghanaian entrepreneur, Mr. Bright Simons, who developed the mPedigree system noted that its technology and security infrastructure are now being provided by Hewlett Packard (HP).

The report added that the system assigns a unique code to genuine malaria medicines, printed on the back of medicine blister packs under a sheet that is scratched off like a lottery ticket.

Thus enabling customers to send a text message to a central hotline with the code and instantly get an “OK” response telling them if the drug is registered and thus real. The system, it was gathered could also send additional information like the drug’s manufacturer and expiration date.

And in the event of a fake drug, the system, the report said, would, consumers are to receive a text message saying “No. Please recheck code.”

The system is free for consumers and is paid for by pharmaceutical companies and governments.

Health officials say the innovative system could help Africa curb the tide of fake drugs and potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives.

Experts think about 700,000 people die from malaria or tuberculosis every year after taking counterfeit drugs, with some containing little more than sawdust, baby powder and water.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

2 comments:

Unknown said...

I love this project.I work in pharmaceuticals and I would love to introduce it my little country of Rwanda.how can I?
baguma25@gmail.com

ITREALMS Online said...

Hi Allan,, you can google Ghanaian entrepreneur, Mr. Bright Simons or mPedigree @ http://www.mpedigree.org/home/symptoms.php