HP powers SMS-enabled pill authentication

By Brian Dolan
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mpedigreeHP has inked a deal with mPedigree, which offers a text message based service that helps users check the authenticity of their medications. The technology has been piloted in Ghana and Nigeria. With hosting and security provided by HP, mPedigree will offer the service to patients taking a range of medications manufactured by May & Baker Nigeria and KAMA Group of Ghana. Users can send a free text message to get an instant response as to whether the tablets or syrup bottles are genuine. Medications found to display fake codes can be reported by users, too. The pharma companies participating in the service are also funding it. The medications involved include anti-malarial (artelum), anti-amoebicide (loxagyl) and analgesic (easadol) medication. (For more on the service, check out the documentary video embedded at the bottom of this post.)

“Over the years, we have invested a huge amount of time and money in developing drugs which will protect the health of people around the world,” said Dr. Joseph Ikemefuna Odumodu, chief executive, May & Baker Nigeria, and president, West African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association. “It’s in both our and our customers’ interest that they receive the full benefit of that investment. This system will safeguard both of us now and in the future.”

The mobile operators in Ghana and Nigeria are also partnering with mPedigree and HP to facilitate the service.

“Technology plays a critical role in solving many serious health problems around the world,” said Gabriele Zedlmayer, vice president, Office of Global Social Innovation, HP. “While Nigeria and Ghana are the starting points for this program, we are working to create a scalable infrastructure to be used by other regions where counterfeit medicine is a growing issue.”

While the HP deal brought a lot of attention to the mPedigree deployment in Ghana and Nigeria, Kenya's government also recently announced its support for mPedigree in that country. (More from Kenya Broadcasting Corp. here).

More on HP and mPedigree's deal here. Or watch this documentary on mPedigree, too: