We knew of the use of mobiles to check the authenticity of drugs in Africa, but this is the first we heard of it being used in India.
Before buying a Sproxil-verified medication, the consumer scratches off the label to reveal a unique code, then texts it to a free number. Seconds later, a response comes back from Sproxil’s computer servers. If the text message is an approval, the medication is real and the customer buys it. If not, she can report the fake.
Sproxil has produced millions of scratch-off labels for big pharmaceutical companies operating in India and Africa. Although just 10 percent of purchasers actually text the codes, the company reports that sales of the drugs it verifies tend to go up, probably because consumers are more confident that they are getting the real thing.