Uganda’s president is getting behind a project using blockchain tech to fight the problem of counterfeit medicines.
In an announcement on Monday, MediConnect – a firm that has built a solution to track and manage prescription meds using blockchain –said it has received “indicative” support from the Ugandan government to explore the use of its product in the country.
The news comes after the company met with the president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, as well as its Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, and other government officials to discuss the benefits of a blockchain solution.
As well as pledging support for MediConnect’s solution in tackling the spread of fake drugs in Uganda, the government said it would be open to working with MediConnect on the issue, according to the press release.
MediConnect CEO Dexter Blackstock said:
“The Ugandan President, Minister of Health and National Drug Authority all understand the need to act fast to tackle the country’s counterfeit drug problem and recognise the benefits offered by tracing medication on the secure, scalable blockchain framework we are developing. We see this as an important opportunity for MediConnect to form part of Uganda’s national infrastructure and protect its citizens by ensuring all drugs in circulation are authentic and safe.”
The firm cited data from the Ugandan National Drug Authority as indicating that 10 percent of drugs prescribed in the country have below par or counterfeit copies sold on the market. The World Health Organization has also found that 10 percent of medical products in developing countries, many of which are in Africa, are substandard or fake.
At the meeting with government was also Uebert Angel, a founder of a Pentecostal ministry in the U.K. and strategic partner of MediConnect.
He said in the announcement:
“Travelling to Uganda, I was shocked by the extent to which counterfeit drugs have ruined the lives of the most vulnerable people in society. It is therefore humbling to be able to make a difference by investing in the country’s pharmaceutical sector and partnering with MediConnect to identify fake dugs and prevent them from reaching end-users. “
President Museveni confirmed the meeting and government support on Twitter.