AFRICA/SENEGAL - Start-ups against counterfeit medicines

Wednesday, 26 July 2017


Dakar (Agenzia Fides) - It is estimated that about 10% of the medicines in the world are counterfeit, a figure equivalent to 85 billion euros, according to the Institute for Research Against Counterfeit Medicines in Paris. We are talking about 30% in sub-Saharan Africa, according to researchers. India is the first country where illegal drugs, smuggling, badly packaged or expired drugs come from, according to the World Customs Organization. Faced with this phenomenon, some start-ups have proposed practical solutions. One of these, Senegalese JokkoSanté, launched the concept of "virtual pharmacy", still in the pilot phase. The start-up also provides an "adoption" system through which large companies offer free drugs to those who can not pay them, in a Country where over 50% of the population is without health insurance.
Another start-up, Sproxil, set up in 2009, allows users to verify the authenticity of a drug, thanks to mobile phones, through an identification code. In six years, Sproxil has registered over 50 million SMS exchanges in Africa and India.
At a summit in Liberia last April, the Economic Community of West African States (Cedeao) announced the launch of an expired or falsified drug traffic research as well as an awareness campaign. The problem of access to medicines affects the most vulnerable sectors of the population who have no resources to buy them and must adapt to products of dubious origin. In 2013, due to two anti-malaria drugs, one fake and the other ineffective, over 122,000 African children died. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 26/7/2017)