HP, mPedigree launch anti-counterfeiting trial

Africa's abundant API-absent malaria drug fakes may be getting easier to identify, thanks to Hewlett-Packard and Ghana-based nonprofit mPedigree Network.

The pair expects to launch a six-month trial of an authentication system in Ghana and Nigeria. Some 125,000 malaria pill packets will come with a 10-digit code concealed by a scratch panel. After users reveal the code, they send it via cell phone text message to an advertised number. The message is forwarded to an HP data center for verification. If it checks out, the user receives an "OK" reply. A "No" reply indicates a fake.

HP and mPedigree, Bloomberg reports, are seeking the involvement of other drugmakers.

Nigeria is also testing another authentication service using a Merck diabetes drug. It incorporates a system developed by Boston-based Sproxil; Nigeria has also worked with Sproxil and Biofem Pharmaceuticals, as reported. And a third company using cell phones for drug authentication is PharmaSecure; its system is being trialed in India.

- see the Bloomberg report