Articles, Blog

mPedigree | Bright Simons & Selorm Branttie | Skoll Award 2019

The human toll, of counterfeiting in the
supply chain is catastrophic. We are not talking about
counterfeit Rolex here, we are talking about situations where farmers buy fake seeds, and then three months down the line, they find out that the crop has failed. People are taking insulin, and in fact they’re getting water, and they enter into diabetic shock. Children have died because
somebody has administered antifreeze to stabilize the medicine. I’m not sure there’s any
variety of terrorism, that is more tragic than this issue of counterfeit substandard,
knock-off products. The problem of counterfeiting is a subset of a broader set of supply
chain problems around trusts. When you go to the market
and you pick up a product, as a consumer, you’re completely blind as to what you’re getting. And governments are suppose
to regulate these spaces and make them safe for everyone, but government are heavily limited and heavily constrained. There are places in the world where walking into a pharmacy and picking up a flu shot, could be as dangerous as
playing Russian roulette. In one estimate in Nigeria,
early in the 2000s, 80% of medicines tested
failed quality assurance. So in those days, you
had four in five chances of getting the wrong thing. Three years ago, a young guy came in, he has had two sessions of anti-malarials he bought by himself. Nothing prepared me for
what I was going to see. His kidneys were beginning to show signs of early failure. And for a young guy of 17, he died whilst waiting for dialysis. It’s one of the saddest,
most harrowing experience of what a fake drug could do. In total, supply chain crime may exceed $1 trillion worldwide. Counterfeiting alone, is estimated to be $500 billion plus, problem. mPedrigree solution is looking
at counterfeit scenario from a more proactive point. We thought that if we
could link every product with a unique identification marker, such that somebody can use a mobile phone to make a simple query and find out if they are buying an original product using that unique marker as the reference, then we will be able
to assure the consumer that they are buying an original product. That number would have to be hidden behind a panel that can be
easily be scratched off. – 1624. – This code is one time use, is unique, and it cannot
be guessed in advance. And then they send it by
text to a toll-free number. It goes into the system,
and then the system will then cross-check it with
all the unique numbers there are for that particular brand. And then it’s a return response. Either a positive response,
or a negative response. Okay, it has come, this
is an original product marketed by Geneith Pharmaceuticals Ltd. In very practical terms,
it means therefore, that the consumer in the market holding the product in their hand, with their mobile phone, for free, can validate, which now makes this product very likely to be safe,
and of the right quality. mPedrigree introduces technology, that enables an ecosystem
to form around a core, where that core is transparency
and accountability. Distributors will use this system to improve that traceability
of the distribution process. They have retailers who use
this to reassure themselves of the confidence of what they are getting from the supplier, they have government who uses our software to mount surveillance,
in order to concentrate their resources much more effectively. From the regulatory standpoint, now you have a tool that
actually collects that data, it enhances their ability
to police the market, it enhances their ability
to have market visibility. We are fully active in
Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Egypt, India. It’s not about amassing
billions of dollars, it’s rather about amassing
billions of people trusting the products that they buy, as well as providing complete visibility of the supply chain, in ways of that have never
been thought of before. We use to get substandard seeds, and now we are getting the genuine seeds. Knowledge is power, where there is knowledge allows or enhances trust. Then it means that it enhances
a more peaceful society, and the more aspirational society. Technology’s a very important part of how we going to improve trust. If we had a world in which
trust is on the up step, as opposed to steeply downhill, I believe that it’ll be a very, very radically different world.


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