mPedigree

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Daniel Kwakye
Head, External Relations
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CASE STUDY SOURCE

UPDATE: March, 2021

mHealth Compendium, Volume 2
Published by:
Management Sciences for Health
Originally published:
May, 2013

PROJECT STATUS

Active


The information below appeared in the original case study.

IMPLEMENTATION PARTNERS

Hewlett Packard
Orange Health
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control in Nigeria (NAFDAC)
Kenyan Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB)
West African Health Organization (WAHO)
Several Telecom Companies

FUNDER

The US Technical Support Working Group

CONTACT (AS LISTED IN ORIGINAL CASE STUDY)

Bright Simons
President
mPedigree Network

GEOGRAPHIC SCOPE

Ghana
Nigeria
Kenya
Uganda
Tanzania
South Africa
Bangladesh
India

Target Users

Client, Health Care Provider, Health System Manager, Data Services Provider

Enabling Environment Building Blocks

Leadership and Governance, Strategy and Investment, Legislation, Policy, and Compliance, Services and Applications, Standards and Interoperability, Infrastructure, Workforce

Family Planning Program Classification

Supply Chain Management

This case study was originally published in the mHealth Compendium Volume 2, developed by the African Strategies for Health project, implemented by Management Sciences for Health with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Updates to the original case study, submitted by the implementing organization in March 2021, appear in the final section of this case study.

Introduction

Counterfeit drugs are believed to be responsible for an alarming number of deaths, especially in the developing world. According to a study by Y.A. Chowdary et al., all types of products – whether affordable, expensive, generic or branded – are being counterfeited and emerge in community pharmacies, hospitals, and other less-regulated settings. Previous methods have been developed to combat the problem, yet proved unsuccessful. However, the use of ubiquitous information and communication technology (ICT) tools has proven to be more promising.

Bright Simons, a Ghanaian social entrepreneur, has developed a phone-based system called mPedigree to tackle the problem of counterfeit drugs. mPedigree is an innovative anti-counterfeit ICT software application that seeks to empower the consumer so that they have a way of verifying their medication’s safety. Through the provision of a free text message service, users are able to verify the origin and authenticity of drug treatments before use.

The core technology was invented in 2005 and mPedigree was formally launched in Ghana in 2007. Since its launch, the service has expanded to India, Nigeria, East Africa and South Asia.

About mPedigree

mPedigree protects consumers from counterfeit drugs in regions with low literacy and low technical capacity. The model relies on negotiating deals with phone and drug companies and having manufacturers implement the program at the lowest possible cost. Matching the technology platform to regional infrastructure, Hewlett Packard (HP) created a cloud-based system that tracks pharmaceutical supply chain data on the back end, while leveraging the high mobile penetration in region for the consumer interface. The innovative system allows buyers to verify the authenticity of medicines for free by text messaging a unique scratch-off code found on the product to a universal number. This request is routed to mPedigree’s servers and consumers receive a quick response to authenticate their purchase.

Evaluation and Results

Global partnerships have been developed with Fortune 500 companies, over two dozen telecom agencies, regulators, and pharmaceutical companies. In 2011, Themis Medicare became the first Indian healthcare company to sign up with the mPedigree Network. As of February 2013, mPedigree’s verification codes have appeared on almost ten million packs of medicine in Ghana, Kenya, India and Nigeria. Four other countries are currently conducting a beta launch.

Lessons Learned

  • An electronic resource system must be able to boost transparency in the marketplace and efficiency in the regulatory process
  • Electronic resource systems should also facilitate the promotion of common standards and enhance the capacity of manufacturers and marketers of medicines to benefit from regional economies of scale
  • Identifying collective interests, specifically loss of revenue for pharmaceutical companies and governments and the network expansion of local telecommunications companies, has allowed the network to secure support from the key constituents it needed to drive impactful change.
  • A sound marketplace for medicines requires an enrichment of the partnerships between drug manufacturers, marketers, pharmacists and regulators

Conclusion

Through an unparalleled integration across corporations, governments, and service providers, mPedigree is enabling consumers in the developing world to place absolute confidence in any medication they purchase or receive in the open market or from any provision outlet in the public sector. Fast, secure, and easily accessible in remote areas, the system addresses the main barriers to counterfeit monitoring and has helped avert the numerous deaths associated with patients ingesting counterfeit drugs. It is a strong example of how technology is meeting the challenge of identifying these dangerous and lethal drugs.

PROJECT UPDATES

mPedigree works in over a dozen countries across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East through partnerships among regulators, major tech utilities, brand owners, and trade associations to create and police the supply chain through the dissemination of cutting-edge tools that suppress counterfeit and substandard goods, and boost legitimate commerce through big data, analytics, direct-to-consumer engagement, market surveillance, regulatory digitization, and track-and-trace technology. mPedigree’s technology is “user-elastic,” in that it can be scaled down to the simplest tools, such as unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) and SMS, and dialed up to the most innovative capabilities, such as predictive computing apps and portals. Consumers, manufacturers, brand owners, and government agencies are able to use mPedigree’s technology for connecting to a digital marketplace. 

Recent accomplishments include:

  • In 2019, mPedigree forged a partnership with the regional trading hub Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to spread mPedigree’s traceability and certification technology to COMESA’s 21 member states.
  • In 2019, mPedigree won the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. 
  • In 2020, mPedigree was ranked as 2nd Most Innovative Company, Africa by Fast Company. 
  • As of 2020, mPedigree has helped over 100 million people globally authenticate over three billion products.

mPedigree continues to deepen its partnerships with governments, including Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Kenya’s Plant Health Inspectorate Service, and Tanzania’s Official Seed Certification. mPedigree’s flagship Goldkeys platform is redefining how consumers interact with products in a market; how industry renews its mandate of consumer protection; and how governments—backed by actionable data—are fighting market oppressors, like counterfeiters, and saving millions of lives globally in the process.

References/Resources

Original Case Study

Information was excerpted from:

Chowdary, YA, et. al. “A Review on Anti-Counterfeit Packaging and Use of ICT Tools to Combat the Issue of Counterfeiting.” International Journal of Pharmaceutical & Biological Archives. 3.4 (2011): 706-711. Print.

Jack, Andrew. “Faking It.” Feature of BMJ 345.e7836 (2012). Print.

“Mission and Vision.” mPedigree. Web.

Simons, Bright. “mPedigree: An African Blueprint for Consumer Empowerment.” Skoll World Forum. n.d. Web.

Zedlmayer, Gabi. “mPedigree: A Collective Impact Case Study.” Stanford Social Innovation Review. 20 May 2011. Web.

Project Updates

mPedigree (website), https://mpedigree.com/