Blockchain Apps for Pharma Counterfeit on its final phase of development
Where we kicked off 9 months back ?
We discussed as a team on whats important here? We spoke to several NGO, Social organisations, Pharma leaders and the distribution channels across Asian countries. Our quest was to convince ourself of whats critical, whats important and where should we focus first :-
Is it a “$300 Billion lost revenue issue” or “a million lives saved” ?
You will obviously know the answer!! Trust me, we didnt know. We only knew a world which ran after funding for more reasearch and apps.
The former is an Asian problem and the latter is a problem of the fortunate and well funded nations. We probably picked the Asian problem, the problem with the less fortunate brothers and sisters in our planet.
Research and product Development
Our Pharma team started working on this problem 9 months back. We were armed with our local knowledge, issue base, social and economic environments, blockchain expertise, Apps on “Track & Chase”, “Completed designs” and all that APIs – we thought that we can have found the magic recipe.
Little did we know that, this was deeper and dangerous; not very different from the illegal weapon trade mafia that exist from the “fortunate well funded nations to less fortunate nations and thier people” ; It grew to be the toughest of all team tasks with us, both mentally, technically, financially and from every angle you can think of.
We didnt want a technical product which is app and its done with it. Our insights have grown and we changed what we were looking for……..Whatever we did, we wanted the solution to be localised, mature, practical and algorithemic. After several mathematical iterations and several rounds of redesign, re-iterations, we have finally found a way out. We build on it and we are now retesting on our beta version. We considered all aspects of this industry, the regulatory nature, distribution fraemwork, supply chain parts in detail, corruption and bribe systems existing, the massive $$ involved; we are finalising our plot and we look frwd to present this to the world in Q3, 2018.
We seek a collaborative community effort and funding to approach this issue in hand. In our quest, we have started to request and work with WHO and other global organisations 6 months back. We wanted more help, as much as we can get.
We have a mission and with our research, experience, engineering and management skills, we are on our last mile.
We cannot disclose anything at the moment as we have a $300 billion corrupted cartel to kill. Talk to us if you can give us a helping hand.
Insights if it interest you
Asia accounts for the biggest share of the trade in counterfeit medicines, 70% of the total trade, according to the industry-funded organization, the Pharmaceutical Security Institute.
But, according to Interpol, there are counterfeit medicine cases in every part of the world. “There is a flow of products coming from everywhere and going to everywhere, there are so many hubs”. Its more like a illegal weapon trade which is happening.
The threat from counterfeit pharmaceutical products is hardly new; many national authorities have long waged their own struggle against counterfeit medicines. Although WHO has been working actively on this complex, politically sensitive issue since it was first discussed in May 1998 at the World Health Assembly, enforcement efforts stepped up a notch in 2006 when it launched the International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (IMPACT), drawing members from international organizations, enforcement agencies, industry and nongovernmental organizations.
Since then, IMPACT members have been collaborating closely on international criminal investigations, assisting countries in strengthening their own detection and enforcement systems, and working with industry to develop such measures as secure, high-tech pharmaceuticals packaging.
Worldwide sales of counterfeit medicines could top US$ 300 billion this year, a 90% rise in five years, according to an estimate published by the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest in the United States of America (USA). It is difficult to measure the extent of the problem when there are so many sources of information and different definitions of “counterfeit”.
“Studies really only give a snapshot of the situation as counterfeiters are extremely flexible in the way they mimic products and avoid detection”.
There are no accurate data that accurately measure the scale of this vast, sophisticated and lucrative business, but “we’re talking about big quantities seized and sophisticated criminal networks,” says Interpol, IMPACT’s working group on enforcement.
The range of counterfeit products reaching markets has also broadened with the increased commercial use of the Internet to provide a dizzying array of both branded and generic drugs. In more than 50% of cases, medicines purchased over the Internet from illegal sites that conceal their physical address have been found to be counterfeit, according to WHO.
“In a shocking development, it was discovered relatively recently that counterfeit versions of lifesaving prescription medicines for cancer and serious cardiovascular diseases are also being sold to consumers online,” the European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines reports.
Developing countries are an obvious target for counterfeiters, because the cost of legitimate drugs may be beyond the reach of much of the population and legal controls are often weak, analysts say.
In “Operation Storm 2”, the IMPACT-coordinated operation in Asia in 2013, the counterfeits seized ranged from antibiotics to birth-control medicines, anti-tetanus serums, antimalarials and drugs treating erectile dysfunction. In Egypt, investigators found everything from organ transplant drugs to medicines for illnesses such as heart diseases, schizophrenia and diabetes along with thousands of boxes of cancer drugs, Plançon says.
Even though higher-income countries have stringent regulations and better law enforcement, they also offer great rewards. According to the Medicines and Health care products Regulatory Agency in the United Kingdom, counterfeiters now also target the most lucrative markets, copying high-value, high-turnover, high-demand drugs. “Counterfeiting is primarily motivated by its potentially huge profits,” says Kopp. “Criminals are adept at quickly adjusting to where the most money can be made.”
In Singapore, 150 people were admitted to hospital in the first five months of 2008 having severe hypoglycaemia – a sharp drop in blood-sugar levels. Four of them died and seven suffered severe brain damage. They had reportedly taken counterfeit copies of drugs purporting to treat erectile dysfunction but which contained a hefty dose of glyburide, used for treating diabetes.
The overall death toll attributable to counterfeit medicines, like the scale of the business, is unknown but the costs to public health are huge. Quite apart from the direct impact on individuals, counterfeits can cause resistance to medicines for tackling diseases that are leading causes of mortality. Malaria, which kills around a million people a year, is a prime example.
An unprecedented international collaboration and investigation of counterfeit antimalarials found that half of the 391 samples collected contained no active ingredient (artesunate) or too little to have any benefit. Manufacturers’ holograms provided no guarantee of protection as investigators found the counterfeiters had developed their own sophisticated fake holograms. The results of the investigation, published in PLoS Medicine in 2008, concluded that the “epidemic” of counterfeits in south-east Asia had led to “deaths from untreated malaria, reduced confidence in this vital drug, large economic losses for the legitimate manufacturers and concerns that artemisinin resistance might be engendered.”
“People don’t necessarily find out that the drugs they were taking were counterfeit. Even a single case of a counterfeit medicine is unacceptable since it indicates a weakness in the pharmaceutical supply system and undermines the credibility of health systems,”.
The scale and ingenuity of the trade in counterfeits poses a formidable challenge to enforcement. Moreover, international trade presents easy opportunities for counterfeiters to insert their products into the supply chain of legitimate pharmaceuticals and to disguise the source. “Even in hospitals, we have seen deliveries where counterfeit medicines have been added to genuine batches of medicines,” says INTERPOL. “The counterfeiters simply falsify the delivery papers by adding an extra zero to the quantity supplied, then they make up the difference by adding their own boxes to the order.”
Since 2008, IMPACT and Interpol have mounted operations tackling counterfeiting in east Africa and Asia and have been working with governments in developed countries against the Internet trade in counterfeit medicines.
PROGRESS FROM 2008 IS A JOURNEY FROM 75 Billion to 300 Billion Counterfeit, clearly showing the progress from approaching this outside a technology based framework.
We at DLT have found that, Empowerment is key and how we do it needs to be based on a reward system to end consumer. Our designs are build on consumer empowerment and we are convinced of our algorithms which can build a cross chain network against the counterfeit folks faster than they can catch up with us, the good people….This is a mathematical model which will grow into a deep learning tool, contributed by one of our partner companies, which works in the collaborative blockchain team.
Our labs have our research work which runs into thousands of cases. We are working hard on this problem and any helping hand from any organisation to support us on collaboration will be most welcome.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of DLT Pte Ltd, Singapore and do not necessarily reflect those of any other organisation or individual.