Egyptian Smartphone App Spots Fake Drugs

Programmers in Egypt have devised a smartphone app able to distinguish between genuine drug treatment and counterfeits.

Named GENU, the group behind this innovation are based in a country where fake drugs make up a reported 10 per cent of those available. Counterfeit diabetes, hypertension and cancer treatments are especially prevalent, says Hatem El Gabaly, at one time Egypt’s Minister of Health.

While figuring out the exact contents of a fake drug so often proves an insurmountable challenge, this new app promises to make such identification now possible. GENU’s CEO, Ahmed Rashaad, describes it as “free, quick and simple” and, once on the market, it’ll work in tandem with a special barcode printed on the drug’s packaging.

Anti-Counterfeit Drugs App

Photographing this barcode will allow consumers to tell whether the product before them is the genuine item or a counterfeit generic from the likes of India or China, Rashaad tells Egypt’s Daily News publication.

The anti-counterfeit drugs app also informs patients at what dosage level the medication should be taken and supplies data on the locations from which it can be obtained. Fundamentally, says Rashaad, it could prove a useful tool in the efforts to put those intent on subverting legal drug treatment supply chains out of business. Initially, drug stores guilty of supplying fakes will be penalised and warned – thereafter, they’ll be closed indefinitely.

Fake Drugs Detection

The new Egyptian fake drugs detection app is the result of in-depth studies of pharmaceutical prescription trends, plus six months actually developing the technology. This development phase occurred within the globally-deployed Microsoft Student Partners programme, within which both graduates and undergraduates working in certain fields get the chance to bring new smartphone apps to fruition.

Development costs totalled EGP 50,000 and, already, the app has been a multi-award winner. Now, pharmaceutical firms Roche and Sanofi are putting it through its paces, ahead of an anticipated wide-scale roll-out in due course.

Image copyright Ragesoss – courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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