According to a new report, more than 700,000 people die annually from counterfeit tuberculosis and malaria drugs. A recent news item from Ghana provides these sobering statistics:
- Nearly half the drugs sold in Ghana, Nigeria, Angola, Burundi, and the Congo are substandard
- About two thirds of artesunate (anti-malaria) drugs in Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam contain insufficient active ingredient
A new technology startup venture is seeking to address this problem. mPedigree is seeking to build a coalition of government and insdustry to set up a texting service that can help verify authentic drugs. Medication would come with a unique code inside the packaging. Customers would text that code using their mobile phones and within minutes would receive a reply on whether the product was authentic.