Tekedia discussed this morning on the $1.8m investment from Acumen Fund into the Ghanaian Sproxil – a counterfeit drug fighter using SMS. The just landed an agreement with Kenyan Orange in their quest to keep fafe drugs out of Africa.
Mobile phone service providers and IT companies are looking to increase their profile through health. In an effort to win over more customers and retain their existing clients, the companies are attacking the counterfeit drug market through SMS.
Telkom Kenya (Orange) announced that it would launch next month a free SMS to assist users in the fight against the “growing menace of counterfeit drugs as it positions itself for high speed Internet (3G).”
Telkom Kenya said that subscribers will be able to write verification codes on each medicine product and patients can submit that code through SMS to see the aunthenticity of the drug against a database managed by mPedigree.
“Each request is free and takes only a few seconds to verify. Orange will provide the telecoms support for the service in its African markets when it becomes available,” said Michael Barre, France Telecom’s Vice-President of East Africa and Island region.
Orange will work with mPedigree which is a brand of Sproxil :
Through its agreement with mPedigree, a pan-African partnership of telecom, pharmaceutical and computing industries, Orange will participate in the fight against counterfeit drugs in Kenya and Cameroon, where up to 25% of drugs are potentially affected. The initiative involves printing a unique verification code, which is hidden behind a scratchable surface layer, on each packet or bottle of medicine. Patients can then submit this code via SMS in order to automatically check the authenticity of the drug against a database stored in Europe. Each request is free and takes only a few seconds to verify. Orange will provide the technical support for the system in these two countries once the service starts up in May 2011.
The full Press Release is here.