RxAll is the Ambitious Nigerian Startup Using Blockchain to Fight Fake Drugs

RxAll is the Ambitious Nigerian Startup Using Blockchain to Fight Fake Drugs
Employees from Ivory Coast’s health ministry raid a shop selling counterfeit drugs at the Adjame market in Abidjan earlier this year.

Fake drugs is global problem.

A story published by Mosaic in 2018 helps to explain just how deep the problem really is. According to Mosaic, in 2012, 60 people died in two Pakistani cities after abusing cough syrup in order to get high.

Analysis of the syrup revealed the drug had a mixture of the right ingredients and Levomethorphan, a dangerous chemical which caused their deaths.

A year later the same batch of cough syrup made its way to Paraguay. 44 children got hospitalised after taking the drug. They survived this time thanks to antidotes provided by doctors.

The Indian company behind the syrup was identified and a World Health Organisation (WHO) Alert was placed on the deadly batches that left the factory. According to Mosaic, this fake drug example was easily identified because “its effects were conspicuous”. But this is only a rare instance.

According to the WHO, fake drugs is a $200 billion market. Today fake drugs are so rampant and hard to track. And in Africa, fake drugs easily spreads to reach 20% or 30% of drug users.

It’s a global problem.

But one company is making keen efforts to address the issue using technology.

Enter RxAll to Address the Fake Drugs Problem

RxAll, a Nigerian medical startup, has developed a scanning device and an accompanying software to identify fake drugs. Its proprietary nanoscanner uses blockchain to identify drugs and gauge their quality within 20 seconds.

The company developed a platform which uses artificial intelligence and a database of certified drugs, to vet the authenticity of drugs in the market. Using RxAll’s android and iOS apps, everyday drug users can check and be sure of the quality of drugs they use. This also provides a low cost verification solution for pharmacies too.

Using a subscription service, RxAll also works with regulators to identify the geographical spread of fake drugs. Starting at $60/month, regulators can use its platform to identify where fake drugs are used in real time.

With this insight, drug agencies can carry out drug enforcement quickly and recall those drugs from the market easily.

Launched in 2016, RxAll was founded by Adebayo Alonge, Amy Kao and Wei Liu.

Since its founding, the company has raised $689,000 from three sources of funding. Its first known funding round was a $60,000 grant from Yale University, Merck and Equilateral Ventures.

It recorded its seed funding round in June 2018 following a $500,000 investment from Katapult Accelerator.

Most recently, in March 2019, RxAll scored an important €100,000 prize money from Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge. RxAll won the coveted Global Challenge Prize from BNP Paribas and the Digital Health Prize from Servier. The Digital Health win brought in another €15,000 in prize money.

“It’s been a long journey, from nearly dying from a fake drug 15 years ago, to being with you here today,” said RxAll CEO Adebayo Alonge. “The solution that we have today means that nobody has to go through what I did.”

Presently, the company is on the expansion path. It recently began hiring new staff to lead its expansion into French speaking countries of Africa.

It’s a pretty exciting time for the company.


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