Ugandan president backs the use of blockchain to tackle fake drugs

Ugandan president backs the use of blockchain to tackle fake drugs

July 23, 2019

The president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, has backed an initiative to fight counterfeit drugs through the use of blockchain technology. The initiative will see the Ugandan government partner with MediConnect, a startup that has developed a blockchain platform to fight counterfeiting in the pharmaceuticals industry.

Announcing the development in a Medium blog post, MediConnect revealed that the partnership came after its delegation met with the president and other high-ranking government officials. The delegation consisted of MediConnect CEO Dexter Blackstock and Uebert Angel, a strategic partner for the startup and renowned international church leader.

The startup revealed, “At the meetings, after discussing the benefits of a blockchain solution, the government pledged its support for MediConnect’s solution in tackling the issues facing the country’s pharmaceutical sector and, specifically, indicated that it would be favorable to working with MediConnect to tackle the country’s counterfeit drugs problem.”

The challenge of counterfeit drugs has been rife in Uganda, the country’s National Drug Authority revealed. According to the agency, over 10% of all the drugs sold in the country have counterfeit copies. This is in tandem with findings by the World Health Organization which states that 1 in 10 medical products in developing countries are falsified.

In Uganda, the NDA has been in a renewed fight against counterfeit drugs. However, its methods have involved police crackdowns and raids as well as public awareness campaigns. MediConnect’s systems will be integrated into the existing networks, identifying counterfeit drugs. The platform can also be used to track the origin of a fake drug, thwarting established counterfeiting channels and preventing future contamination of drug batches.

Blackstock stated:

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.

Angel, who is a prominent investor and philanthropist, pointed out that in Uganda, counterfeit drugs have ruined the lives of many. By partnering with MediConnect and the Ugandan government, they can save millions of lives. He also revealed that president Museveni was fully committed to fighting counterfeit drugs. He stated:

In our meeting with President Museveni, he made clear his commitment to eliminating counterfeit drugs in Uganda and I am delighted that his government is interested in exploring the use of MediConnect as a national-level solution to achieve this goal.

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