African telecom sector targets fake medicines

Orange Telecom is one of the telecoms companies spearheading the campaign to drive counterfeit medicines out of the continent. (image credit: Alamy)

An African business daily newspaper has reported that mobile phone service providers and IT companies are looking to increase their profile through health. In an effort to win over more customers and retain their existing clients, the newspaper reported that the companies are attacking the counterfeit drug market through SMS.

According to Business Day, Telkom Kenya (Orange) announced that it would launch next month a free SMS service to assist users in the fight against the “growing menace of counterfeit drugs as it positions itself for high speed Internet (3G).”

Part of its e-health package, the telecom company said, is a deal fronted by its parent company France Telecom with a continental SMS effort being provided by mPedigree to battle the drug industry. The initiative will begin in Kenya and Cameroon.

Telkom Kenya said that subscribers will be able to write verification codes on each medicine product and patients can submit that code through SMS to see the aunthenticity of the drug against a database managed by mPedigree.

“Each request is free and takes only a few seconds to verify. Orange will provide the telecoms support for the service in its African markets when it becomes available,” said Michael Barre, France Telecom’s Vice-President of East Africa and Island region.

Kenya will launch the service in May.

By Staff


  1. Come on… that sounds like a real good plan. In another world. Nobody can really believe that this sort a thing will ever work?!
    I really doubt that it’ll have any impact on the fight against counterfeit drugs. And know what? If the “illegal” meds are cheaper, you might want to start your fight somewhere else.

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