Research says that counterfeit medication is the cause of 1 million deaths per year. One-tenth of this number comes from Africa. Counterfeiting is hard to detect, investigate, quantify or stop. It is a global problem, with annual earnings from substandard drugs standing at over $100 billion.
Some technologies have helped deal with this menace; for instance, radio frequency identification, which works by assigning serial numbers to containers of each product. More modern approaches are being adopted these days, which is the case of RxAll, a startup using deep technology to provide quality medication to patients.
Today, the U.S. and Nigerian-based company is announcing a financing round of $3.15 million to scale across existing markets and improve its technology.
Based on an R&D project at the Yale University’s chemistry department, Alonge, Kao, and Liu began to analyze how to use machine learning and molecular spectroscopy for drug quality and material and quality assurance. The big idea was to address the problem of poor access to high-quality medicine across Africa first, then the rest of the world by building a marketplace for authenticating the sale of safe and reputable pharmaceuticals.