According to a World Health Organization study, counterfeit drugs comprise almost 10% of the global medicine market of nearly $40 billion. In Afghanistan, a report suggests that about 40% of medicines and medical products enter the country illegally with the majority being counterfeit.
As a result, unsuspecting buyers of fake medicines inadvertently risk prolonged illness, drug resistance, and worse. This issue is what Chekkit, a Nigerian health tech platform, and its partners aim to address.
You may recall that in September 2020, the startup signed an MoU with Fantom Foundation and the Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health to help tackle the problem of counterfeit meds in the country using blockchain.
After a successful pilot of Chekkit’s drug verification solution in collaboration with its blockchain partner, Fantom, and the Afghanistan Ministry of Health, the rollout of the solution was announced nationwide on Sunday, May 2, 2021, at an event attended by officials from the local government, Fantom Foundation, and the Afghanistan Ministry of Health.
The pilot kicked off last year with the deployment of Chekkit’s security labels on 80,000 products in Afghanistan, allowing retailers and consumers to use codes – located behind scratch-off films – in verifying the authenticity of the personal and medical items they’ve purchased.
Internet-enabled mobile phone users could scan the QR code and for those without internet connections, a pin code can be entered via a local phone number.
After the pilot, data gathered using Chekkit’s consumer intelligence solution showed that the public was keen to use the system and the manufacturers of the products were also able to gather valuable insights about those buying and using their products.
How the solution works
Fantom Tracker integrates the Nigeria-based Chekkit Technologies’ scanning and verification tools with Fantom’s Opera blockchain. Super fast, Opera secures manufacturer and supply-chain data and communicates it to users and consumers scanning Chekkit’s tamper-proof labels.
Although the solution leans heavily on technology, however, it is easy for the public to use. All a user needs to do is to remove the scratch-off sticker from the Chekkit label. This reveals:
- A QR code that can be scanned on an internet-enabled mobile phone with the Chekkit app, and
- A pin code for users without internet connectivity. By calling a local phone number and entering the code, users can access the same data available through the app.
Whether via internet app or phone, customers are immediately served information about product authenticity. When a counterfeit is detected, Fantom smart technology immediately notifies the retailer, manufacturer, and appropriate government agencies.
With the announcement, the system will be expanded to a national level in Afghanistan, tracking around 210m products including critical and high-volume medical supplies, and also made available for other countries including India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
Commenting on the successful outcome of the project, Dare Odumade, Founder and CEO, Chekkit Technologies, said: “This deal represents the progress we have made at Chekkit and also outlines our plans in ensuring the lives of millions around the globe are safeguarded using scalable and effective technology solutions.”
About Fantom Foundation
Fantom is a consensus-as-a-service (CaaS) platform for the next generation of distributed ledgers. Launched in 2018, the blockchain company is the world’s first DAG-based smart contract platform built on its Opera mainnet, to provide fast and secure consensus capable of powering a country’s entire healthcare system.
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