African Country Turns to Blockchain to Stem Deadly Fake Drug Epidemic

    Uganda, an African country where thousands are dying each year due to counterfeit medicine, wants to put an end to its fake drugs epidemic by utilizing the blockchain.

    Putting an End to a Deadly Disease

    Fake drug counterfeiters cause as many as 158,000 people to die in sub-Saharan Africa each year in a $200 billion worldwide market. They produce look-alike medicine that contains little-to-no active ingredients as well as harmful elements, WeeTracker reported.

    Africa is more exposed to the counterfeit drugs epidemic than other continents as it lacks the technical capacities to combat the issue.

    Uganda – an African country where fake drugs comprise as much as 10 percent of medicine – seeks to step up its game by harnessing the power of the blockchain to get rid of counterfeit medicine that comes mainly from Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    The Ugandan government has partnered with the blockchain health startup MediConnect to create a national infrastructure and take advantage of the distributed ledger’s transparency to ensure safe drugs in the country.

    MediConnect CEO Dexter Blackstock is cited in WeeTracker as saying that the national drug authority, the president, and the minister of health in Uganda all agree to act fast to stop the fake medicine epidemic.

    According to Blackstock, the Ugandan government can use the “secure, scalable blockchain framework” of the startup to track medicine.

    Combating Fakes with Blockchain Tech

    The Ugandan government is not the first to use the blockchain to tackle fake products.

    CCN reported last year that the Indian government is working on a blockchain Proof of Concept (PoC) solution in a crackdown on counterfeit drugs.

    Australian blockchain firm TBSx3 is working on something similar, using a cryptography-powered and blockchain-based verification system to tackle fake goods. In 2017, CCN reported that the startup has successfully completed its blockchain trial for tracking wine.

    While the blockchain can be indeed used to track physical products, multiple enterprises are exploring the technology’s benefits to deal with intangible goods and assets as well, including combating fake news and degrees by using the distributed ledger’s capabilities.

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