Opportunities For Investment In Mobile Based Drug Monitoring

BMI View : Investment into innovative solutions that work to tackle socio-economic issues such as counterfeit medicines have the potential to provide companies with significant revenue earning opportunities. While counterfeit drugs are a global problem - their presence has been particularly difficult to address in Africa. Core reasons for this include poor infrastructure, unregulated customs and imports, the proliferation of illegal pharmacies and road-side medicine vendors, a lack of communication between health authorities, unclear allocation of responsibilities and resources among authorities, and poor law enforcement where clear violations have been noted.

Drug monitoring entails the connection of mobile networks to a central registry which stores information on medicine brands belonging to participant manufacturers, providing consumers with a service that verifies the authenticity of a medicine. The phone-based interception strategy does not allow the same drug code to be sent twice, which is a novel tactic in pre-empting the production of forged consignments.

For many patients in emerging markets, ensuring the validity of the medication purchased can be a major concern. The relative low cost of sending an SMS message to verify the validity of a medicine makes drug monitoring a cheap means of getting genuine medication to customers. We note that adherence to such programs is likely to be increased if the SMS service is free of charge to the end user as in some markets the cost may still be a considerable challenge.

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