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Exposing Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals via Text

 by Julie Hanus

Tags: Science and Technology, health, innovation, text messaging, drugs, pharmaceuticals, counterfeits, Verge, Worldchanging,

Prescription BottlesUp to 30 percent of pharmaceutical drugs distributed in the developing world are counterfeit, according to the World Health Organization. To combat this medically dangerous uncertainty, a technology company in Ghana called mPedigree has created a service that allows users to send text messages and find out if their drug is genuine, reports Verge.

Here’s how Worldchanging breaks it down: “mPedigree provides pharmaceutical manufacturers with specially coded labels, which are affixed to individually packaged medicines. At the drugstore counter, the purchaser scratches off a label to reveal a unique code, which he or she texts to a four-digit number. An automated service looks up the code in a database. On the spot, the consumer gets a reply message indicating whether the drug is genuine or fake.”

Smart stuff. For more technological solutions to managing global medicines, check out my colleague Danielle Mastretti’s recent blog about an awesome database that the Indian government created to help battle biopirates. That’s right, biopirates.

Sources: Verge (article not available online), Worldchanging

Image by Lee Nachtigal, licensed under Creative Commons.