IBM announced a partnership with Sproxil, a maker of verification solutions, to help reduce drug counterfeiting in developing countries by using a cloud-based solution accessed via mobile phones.
IBM announced that Sproxil,
a provider of verification services, is using IBM technology to help the
pharmaceutical industry reduce drug counterfeiting and enable consumers to
verify the authenticity of prescriptions in seconds using their mobile phones.
visualization, analytics and cloud capabilities, Sproxil helps pharmaceutical
manufacturers view and analyze real-time consumer data to detect and prevent
drug counterfeiting in developing countries, where upward of 25 to 50 percent
of medicines can be counterfeit, costing the industry $75 billion a yearand
worse yet, possibly costing lives.
IBMs cloud service to provide users with secure, reliable data access, the
company said in announcing its partnership with Big Blue at the IBM Impact 2012
conference here May 1.
pharmaceutical clients, including Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, have been able to
fight counterfeiting by using Sproxils Mobile Product Authentication (MPA)
solution to affix a scratch-off label with a unique code to each package of
medication. Then, upon purchase, consumers scratch the label to reveal the
code, which they then send via a free text message to a telephone number
provided on the package. Within seconds, consumers receive a text message from
Sproxil letting them know if the medication is authentic.
As part of the
process, Sproxils MPA solution produces a large, rapidly flowing stream of
information about pharmaceutical sales and suspected incidences of
counterfeiting that pharmaceutical manufacturers have access to through
Sproxils client portal.
make it easier for users to view and analyze this market data, Sproxil tapped
IBMs ILOG Elixir software, which provides visuals such as advanced charts and
graphics. Using these and other new capabilities, pharmaceutical manufacturers
can better manage and analyze petabytes of transaction data in real time, IBM
said. Thus the pharmaceutical companies can more easily identify counterfeiting
patterns and combat it. Sproxils new portal featuring ILOG will be launched
during the second quarter of 2012, IBM said.
Many of our
clients are in locations where high-speed Internet connectivity is unreliable
or nonexistent, said Sproxil CEO Dr. Ashifi Gogo, in a statement. Through our
work with IBM, we can enable our clients to render charts with high-speed, even
in low-bandwidth situations. Through IBMs cloud service, we are also able to
offer our clients secure and reliable application availability no matter where
they are located.
continues to advance its MPA solution to make it easier for us to successfully
prevent consumers from being subjected to counterfeit medications, said Chokri
Ahmadi, business director for Merck Groups West Africa Region, in a statement.
The new dashboard will allow us to make better use of the data we receive
through the client portal, which in turn should help our business and
counterfeit medicines have become a critical issue for developing nations, with
an impact measured in lives. For example, IBM reports that of the 1 million
malaria deaths that occur worldwide each year, 200,000 are the result of
counterfeit anti-malarial drugs. Additionally, the World Health Organization
reports that 700,000 Africans die each year from fake anti-malarial and
IBM share a commitment to using technology to protect the health and safety of
people around the world, said Paul Chang, supply chain solutions leader for
IBM, in a statement. With the help of IBM, Sproxil and its clients are making
prescription drugs safer for millions of people who live in areas where
counterfeiting is rampant.
SmartCloud, Sproxil is benefiting from the cost savings and scalability
associated with the cloud environment while also enjoying the security,
reliability, management and support of a private cloud environment, the company
were seeing clients looking at private cloud environments as their initial
entry into the cloud space, Mike Rhodin, senior vice president of IBMs
Software Solutions Group, told eWEEK.
However we foresee an increase in movement to hybrid clouds. We can provide
our clients with both.
IBM has deep
expertise in the pharmaceutical industry and works with most of the worlds
pharmaceutical and life sciences companies in support of their discovery and
development processes and providing business analytics to help deliver more personalized
treatments, the company said.
been working closely with IBM since 2010, when it won IBMs SmartCamp Boston
competition and then won honorable mention in IBMs SmartCamp World Finals.
SmartCamp is an entrepreneurial contest that introduces startup companies to
venture capitalists, academia, government and industry leaders who can help
them grow their businesses. After Sproxils performance in the IBM SmartCamps,
the company received a round of funding earlier in 2012 from the Acumen Fund.
Sproxil also is a member of IBMs Global Entrepreneur initiative, which assists
startups with product development and speeds their time to market, IBM said.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.