Counterfeit pharmaceuticals pose a serious public health challenge. While it exits everywhere in the world, counterfeiting is greatest in regions where regulatory and enforcement systems for medicines are weakest. Counterfeit medicines pose a public health risk because their content can be dangerous or they can lack active ingredients.
In Nigeria, the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline implemented an SMS verification of pharmaceuticals in small doses. The pharmaceutical company selected Sproxil, a brand protection company operating in Nigeria, to provide SMS-authentication for its antibiotic, Ampiclox, which is sold by the millions each year.
While few details were provided about the technology being used, the article only mentions verification at the initial production of the pharmaceutical – there is no mentioning of what happens further in the distribution chain. CTED’s own Epothecary, developed by Michael Paik, addresses the need for not only authentication of the drug, but also authentication and continued monitoring of the individuals and distributors of those drugs using cell phone cameras. Epothecary provides a unique bar code for each pharmaceutical packaging, which is then scanned at each step of the process by individuals who have been verified and provided with their own personal bar code. At each step of distribution, the drug and the seller are constantly verified allowing for earlier recognition of illegal transactions or the introduction of counterfeits into the system. Epothecary provides the needed assurance to the consumer of the authenticity of drugs purchased through a participant in the system.