With the vast plethora of funding and market opportunities growing daily in the health tech space, especially in Africa where the ratio of doctors to patients stands at a thoroughly disappointing 1:3,500, a Nigerian health tech startup is making giant strides. Part of this wealth of opportunity lies with utilizing technology in the identification of fake and counterfeit drugs. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that over 1 in 10 drugs from Africa are fake. This is alongside the devastating statistic of deaths caused by fake drugs within Africa and globally. The realization is that the onerous task of curbing fake drugs is one that is not only impactful, helping to better health conditions of countries, but is also financially viable. Echoing the urgency of curbing this devastating trend, Ronald Piervincenzi, chief executive at the non-profit USP says: “Substandard and falsified medicines contribute to the growing and costly threat of antimicrobial resistance that could cause 10 million deaths by 2050 and cost the world up to $100 trillion.”
With this impetus for impact, RxAll, a Nigerian health tech startup, has received $3.15 million in funding to expand into other markets and develop its counterfeit-detection technology. Announcing this groundbreaking achievement, Adebayo Alonge, Co-founder of the startup, said:
Excited for what this means especially to my team and our customers in expanding this exciting meaningful work we do daily to get authenticated medicines to every corner of the world. We barely scratching the surface of what we have created and we have unlocked a lot of impact already in the short time we have been around. Looking ahead for the greater impact this team and customer network will deliver in the coming months and years. We will stop people dying from fake medicines anywhere in the world in our lifetime.
The funding was secured on the back of an investment round, led by Launch Africa, including participation from SOSV’s HAX and Keisuke Honda’s KSK fund. RxAll was cofounded by Adebayo Alonge, Amy Kao, and Wei Lui in 2016, who had come together at Yale, to see ways to solving this fake medication challenge. Through their platform, they are able to authenticate drugs and allow pharmacies and users the opportunity to purchase high-quality medicines online.
The company had also developed a hand-held scanner that easily verifies medications for patients, within 20 seconds, and shares the results via a mobile app. The RxScanner, as it is called, is accessible through a subscription model for users, who can then easily make use of the product to properly test their medications before use.
It is the hope that with these significant steps towards expansion and growth, RxAll’s footprints across Africa would be much more pronounced. This will help to effectively curb the growing incidences of death by fake drug consumption, and better health across Africa’s diverse population.