mPedigree: Social Innovation for the Healthcare Sector


Across the developing world, especially in West Africa, the issue of fake and counterfeit medication is a huge problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in many emerging markets, up to 30% of drugs are compromised. The growing sophistication of cheap graphic software and hardware kits means that packaging, including traditional security features such as holograms, can be perfectly replicated by even small time counterfeit operators, making the need for a highly robust but economically feasible system urgent. Technology entrepreneur Bright Simons and his team launched a social innovation through their company, mPedigree Network, in 2007 to combat the drug counterfeiting menace. The innovation is a simple, mobile-based service that allows patients to test the authenticity of the medicines they purchase. Pharmaceutical companies emboss special codes on drug packages that are recorded in mPedigree’s database. Consumers can scratch off a panel on the drug to reveal a code, which they send via text message at no charge to a short number provided by telecommunication companies. The code goes to a central registry (managed by Hewlett-Packard) for authentication and a response was received within seconds. This case provides a basis for discussion in EMBA and MBA classes of how companies working in a network can create value for their customers.


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Published by:China Europe International Business School

Publish Date:2013-01-01


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