A clever technological fix for a life-threatening counterfeiting epidemic.
More than 122,000 African children under age five die annually from counterfeit antimalarials, and British think-tank International Policy Network estimates that 700,000 deaths a year are caused worldwide by fake malaria and tuberculosis drugs. That’s the problem being tackled by mPedigree, a startup led by 34-year-old Ghanaian entrepreneur Bright Simons.
mPedigree affixes a special 12-digit code on medication containers; patients can check the authenticity of medicines by sending the manufacturer a text message of those digits. mPedigree now has its labels on more than 500 million packets in 12 countries in Africa and Asia, working with giants such as AstraZeneca and Sanofi. Now the company has set its sights on weeding out fake agricultural crops, textiles and automobile parts with the same clever solution.