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Now, users can identify counterfeit drugs on WhatsApp

Now, users can identify counterfeit drugs on WhatsApp
Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle

Patients and doctors can soon verify the authenticity of medicines by sending a WhatsApp message, The Economic Times reported.

Pharma companies are expected to print special codes on their products, starting with their most popular or most used drugs, in the next three months, the report said.

The plan is expected to remove 300 counterfeit drug brands from the country, a senior government told ET.

According to the report, the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) had approved the proposal in a meeting held on May 16 and has clarified that the plan is to be executed on a voluntary basis.

The proposal seeks drug companies to print a 14-digit unique number for each strip or bottle that is to be sold in the market. The strips will also be accompanied by a phone number from the company marketing the product, the official told the financial daily.

Patients buying these medicines can authenticate them by sending the 14-digit number via WhatsApp to the phone number printed on the bottle or strip. They will be provided details like batch code, manufacturing date, etc., the official mentioned above further explained to ET.

“This is to give confidence among the public about the genuineness and quality of the product,” the official was quoted as telling ET. “This will also help inspectors to track and catch counterfeit products moving in the market,” he said, adding that a lot of drug companies have agreed to participate in the trial plan.

However, the report also said that the pharma companies were waiting to get some guidelines on implementation and deployment.

Last month, another report by FactorDaily said that Niti Aayog, the government’s top policy think tank, is looking to curb the menace of fake drugs in the country by using blockchain.

“We are all taking those medicines and I am sure people are dying. One way to reduce that is to put the entire supply chain on the blockchain,” an official told the tech news outlet. This means tagging every medicine with a code so that its movements on the supply chain can be monitored via the blockchain. This will make the drug industry transparent and, to an extent, incorruptible.

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