By TECHNOLOGY TIMES Reporter
Lagos. May 30, 2013: Chinese malaria drugs giant, Guilin, says it is spearheading effort in Africa to enable patients and consumers detect fake malaria drugs using mobile phone technology, goldkeys.
Lily Su, Vice President of Guilin says the new technology which kicks off in Nigeria before being expanded across the continent leverages the most empowering device in Africa today – the mobile phone – to protect patients from fake malaria drugs.
The company says that 10 million patients are expected to benefit from the programme in the first phase of implementation in the 2013 – 2014 operational years.
Guilin Pharmaceuticals, the world’s first producer of artesunate prequalified by the World Health Organisation as meeting the global body’s stringent standards for safety, quality and efficacy, says it has recorded another first with the initiative.
The company, which manages the world’s largest vertically integrated artemisinin production system, claims it has become the first Chinese company to introduce an SMS-based system for African consumers and patients of its medicines to confirm the authenticity of their Guilin-produced anti-malarials.
Buyers of a wide range of Guilin anti-malarials shall be able to scratch-off a special layer covering a unique ID, which they can then send off in a free text message to a special hotline number for instant feedback on the authenticity of the pack, the company says.
The service, which shall initially be available to all 50 million mobile subscribers in Nigeria, before being extended to other African countries, comes in the wake of a massive global outcry about the impact of counterfeiting on the world’s malaria situation.
Counterfeiting is believed to be contributing to the emergence and spread of newer, more virulent, drug-resistant malarial parasites that are harder and much more expensive to treat, thus raising the risk of death for many patients around the world, Guilin adds.
“As a company devoted to the highest standards of technical excellence, we are always keen to emphasise that for us the patient, not science, comes first. Our approach is always to go to every conceivable extent to ensure that those who use our medicines become the central fulcrum around which all our activities turn. This new technology leverages the most empowering device in Africa today – the mobile phone – as an additional layer of a powerful patient-empowerment strategy that includes our safety and quality feedback management system”, the company’s VP adds.