How SMS can stop the trade with counterfeit drugs

Today I want to present you a smart solution for a problem occurring often in developing countries such as India. I am talking about counterfeit drugs.

Caused through the emerging markets the structures of  enterprises worldwide become more and more unclear and often obscure for outstanding people. They tend to have longer supply chains and to produce their ingredients overseas. The United States for example are said to produce 80% of the ingredients used for drugs abroad. This make it easy for the counterfeit industry to gain power.

“About 20% of the drugs sold in India are fake.” said Forbes.

Additionally the trade with counterfeit drugs is very lucrative, the industry captures about $75 billion each year:

“1kg of counterfeit Viagra generates a profit which is hundred times higher than the profit a 1kg cocaine generates.”

PharmaSecure took care of this problem and developed a “product unit-level identification system”. Based on special software and hardware components it allows producers to track and trace their product and distributors and customers to verify the authenticity. Within the so-called sterilization process the psID algorithm creates a unique code and a machine prints it on the packaging of the product. If the customer wants to verify the product, then he has to send the code to the number, which is given on the packaging. Within a second PharmaSecure sends a response to the customer verifying the product or alerting the consumer. The codes can be a human readable text (as on the picture) or a bar code, which distributors can scan easily. The consumer can send the code by SMS, web, voice or mobile application immediately when purchasing it in the drug store or chemistry shop.

How present the topic is shows the affair of the company Genentech. They produced Avastin, a drug against several forms of cancer. But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showed that the medicine has no positive effect on patients with breast cancer, instead they have to tolerate a lot of side effects.

But that’s not all, Kathrin Streckenbach from n-TV stated that the German constums confiscated about 10 billion counterfeit drugs in 2010. Most of them were treatment for impotence, laxative or drugs against cancer. This shows especially how dangerous it can be for the customers to buy placebo, because some of the counterfeit drugs can even harm or kill them.


3 Kommentare zu “How SMS can stop the trade with counterfeit drugs

  1. Hallo Franzi,

    tolle Sache. Ich denke ich werde von der Firma Gebrauch machen wenn immer ich in einem Entwicklungsland unterwegs bin. Sicherlich wird dieser Service die Hersteller von gefälschten Medikamenten schwächen, jedoch auch die Machtposition der etablierten Hersteller ausbauen. Es kann natürlich nicht angehen, dass gefälschte Markenmedikamente verkauft werden. Leider haben in den Entwicklungsländern jedoch die Menschen nicht die Kaufkraft die originalen Medikamente zu kaufen, auch wenn die gefälschten sehr gefährlich sein können. Wäre denn dann die Lösung nicht, wenn man regulierte Generikahersteller politisch fördern würde, sodass Medikamente für alle kostengünstig verfügbar werden?

    Mehr zum Thema Pharmaindustrie wirst du in meinem nächsten Blog post finden 🙂

    Liebe Grüße


  2. Hi Franzi,

    what a great invention! Do you know for whom the product is available? And where? I’d like to have one of those. Like Max said, it would be smart to have one in hand when traveling.

  3. Hallo Bahar,

    Da das Problem vermehrt in Indien auftritt – hauptsächlich geschuldet dem Lebensstandard – konzentriert sich das Unternehmen verstärkt auf die Medikamente, die dort vertrieben werden. Könnte aber auch gut sein, dass es schon in Deutschland angekommen ist. Ich werde mal recherchieren!

    LG Franzi

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