Health IT

Panelists talk mobile health for pharmaceuticals in emerging markets and U.S.

At the mHealth Summit taking place in Washington, D.C. this week, a panel discussion on mobile health and pharmaceutical companies talked about how companies are using mHealth in developing nations, particularly for their supply chains.

Susan Shiff of Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) focused on how the pharmaceutical company was developing an epidemiological database with Lagos University Teaching Hospital to help organize its pharmacies and improve patient health. The program has helped improve the management of its stocks and order transaction system between the hospital and its vendors, Shiff noted.

Ashifi Gogo discussed how his company, Sproxil, a Nigerian-U.S. company, was helping foreign governments crack down on counterfeit medications, particularly in Nigeria where counterfeiters have significantly undermined some pharmaceutical companies’ market share with hazardous medications. Fake drugs also kill 700,000 malaria and TB patients every year, Gogo said. Under Sproxil’s system customers can scratch off a code printed on the medication package and send the number in a text message to determine whether a particular medicine is counterfeit or authentic. The system has helped the Nigerian government crack down on the counterfeit trade, Gogo said.

Logistimo and SMS for Life are other examples of companies addressing supply chain issues in developing countries using mobile phone technology.


Sproxil’s system has also been utilized in the U.S. in Florida where the counterfeit drug problem is higher than the national average. Gogo added that it could also be utilized for online and mail-order sales in the U.S. for customers to verify whether or not medication coming to them is counterfeit.


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