Nigeria is one of the countries in the sub-region that suffers from the scourge of fake drugs and several attempts are being made to arrest the situation.
Thanks to a Ghanaian Ph.D student at Dartmouth, Ashifi Gogo, the country is set to arrest the situation and check the slide in sales for most of the country’s pharmaceutical companies.
According to a Wall Street Journal report Gogo’s start-up company Sproxil Inc.,has developed a software for detecting fake pharmaceuticals.
28-year-old Ashifi Gogo had to struggle to overcome the initial lack of confidence of possible investors to eventually get the attention of those who need the product.
Gogo’s woes were compounded further because he mentions Nigeria when he goes looking for funding. Unfortunately, Nigeria’s reputation as an unstable country, politically and a country known for scams did not help.
Thankfully, Sproxil received several small start-up grants and more recently won a $100,000 grant from USAID and Western Union, the report said. It is also supported by a small group of shareholders in Nigeria. The company hasn’t sold its technology to any outside investors, it added.
The report indicates that Sproxil’s technology allows customers to use their mobile phones to check on newly purchased drugs. Using scratch-off labels and ID numbers, customers can send a code via text message to a database in the U.S. to check whether the medicine they purchased is authentic. Nigeria is Africa’s biggest mobile-phone market, with more than 70 million users.
A major pharmaceutical company in Nigeria, Biofem Pharmaceuticals Ltd., is interested in the solution that is at the initial stage of trials.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi