Kenya will pilot mPedigree medicine validation system

African man with cellphoneKenya has become the latest African nation to start piloting the text message-based medicine verification technology developed by mPedigree, according to the firm's president Bright Simons.

Using mPedigree's system, consumers scratch off a panel on a medicine pack to reveal a numerical code, which can be sent via text to a toll-free number. A reply is texted back within a few seconds to indicate whether the number is legitimate, providing a defence against unwittingly purchasing counterfeit medicines. It is thought that almost 400m people in Africa have mobile phone subscriptions.

"The pilot involves locally manufactured rather than imported medicines, and will last for four months," Simons told If the initial phase is successful the intention is to expand it into a 'public' phase along the lines of the mPedigree approach in Ghana and Nigeria (i.e. full participation by mobile operators, and thus free-to-consumer text messaging).

"One of the drugmakers involved in the pilot has indicated that it will use the results to guide a planned adoption of SMS authentication in the East African region," added Simons. The mPedigree system has already been piloted in Ghana.

The announcement was made at the mHealth Africa Summit in Accra, Ghana, last week by Professor Peter Anyang Nyong'o, Kenya's minister for Medical Services.

Related articles:

mPedigree wins 2010 Global Security Challenge

Counterfeit clippings: global news round-up

Video documentary looks at counterfeiting in Ghana

HP helps mPedigree test its SMS drug verification

Nigeria adopts SMS tech to thwart counterfeiters

mPedigree: bringing safer medicines to Africa via the mobile phone


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