Chekkit Technologies, a Nigerian Health Tech startup has signed an MoU with Fantom and the Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health to help tackle the problem of counterfeit meds in the country using blockchain.
The project, which begins with a 3-month pilot, will utilize Chekkit’s product authentication technology to track and verify all drugs sold in the country.
The Fantom Blockchain Challenge (held in November 2019 at the AfricArena Summit in South Africa), in which Chekkit was among the top three participants, initiated the partnership.
Fantom was already in conversation with the Afghan Ministry of Health and brought Chekkit into the discussion because its solution was advanced enough to tackle the Afghan counterfeit problem.
Also coupled with the fact that Chekkit’s solution was built to work perfectly in developing countries, was a huge plus as well.
This new partnership sees Chekkit’s solution deployed on Fantom’s DAG blockchain network.
Chekkit’s strategic partnership
Africa and Asia are the continents that have got hit hardest by the problem of counterfeit goods.
It has always been so for a long time, but not for long. Why? It’s simple, these continents are fighting back!
Over the years, there has been several partnerships between progressive governments and innovative technology companies to tackle counterfeiting head-on, no holding back.
A testament to the fact that a lot can get achieved with strategic public-private collaborations.
Afghanistan is one of such progressive governments, while Fantom Foundation and Chekkit Technologies are two of such innovative technology companies.
The challenge to get solved is the lack of visibility in the pharmaceutical industry.
Too many players (many of which are illicit) selling drugs (many of them fakes) that harm everyday Afghans.
To put that in perspective, as of 2015, a total of 450 foreign pharmaceutical suppliers got registered with the health ministry in Afghanistan, with a population of 31 million people.
In comparison, India, which had a population of more than 1.2 billion, had about 100 registered foreign medicine suppliers.
Clearly, something needed to get done to better sieve out the illicit pharma traders.
How the Drug verification pilot work
Chekkit’s smart labels will get attached to 80,000 pharmaceutical products sold in the Afghan market.
Each smart label has a unique QR code generated by Chekkit’s proprietary software which contains information on each product like its authenticity, manufacturing date, expiry date, FDA number, manufacturer, distributor, and so on.
On the part of the Afghan public/consumers, they can then verify the drugs before purchase/use by scratching Chekkit’s smart label on any of the pilot products to reveal the product’s QR code.
Scan with Chekkit App, and then view the authenticity of the product as well as other product information.
To encourage verification, Chekkit Technologies has deployed a loyalty/reward system where consumers win a little something back when they verify products. This is a win/win for everyone involved.
Chekkit has also provided an oversight capability for the Health Ministry by providing special hand-held devices that they can use to verify the authenticity of the products at the point of entry into the country.
This is possible because our smart labels are made using special materials called taggants, providing an extra layer of security for all parties involved.
How Big is The Whole Project?
Speaking on the innovative initiative, Dare Odumade (Co-founder and CEO of Chekkit Technologies) said:
“The Afghanistan Ministry of public health had been looking for effective ways to verify the authenticity and effectiveness of drugs that are getting imported into the country.
Chekkit provided them with a way to authenticate the drugs at the point of entry into the country and also at point of purchase.
We believe this double focus strategy will make it extremely difficult for counterfeiters to thrive.”
Through this partnership, Chekkit will provide the pharma companies involved with valuable consumer insights and a reward program to encourage purchase and verification by buyers, as well as give the government/ministry a transparent view of the pharmaceutical market.
On completion of a successful pilot, Chekkit envisages its technology getting deployed across the board for all meds coming into Afghanistan.
“Finally, we will also deploy a supply chain tracking solution that offers 360-degree protection against counterfeiting.
We plan that the supply chain tracking will get implemented in collaboration with manufacturers, distributors, and retailers”. added Dare
Don’t miss important articles during the week. Subscribe to cfamedia weekly digest for updates.