Nottingham blockchain solution developer receives support from Uganda

CEO, Dexter Blackstock with President of Uganda, Yoweri Musevini

MediConnect, the developer of a framework blockchain solution to trace and manage prescription medication, has received indicative support from the Ugandan government to explore the use of its solution to tackle the spread of counterfeit drugs in the country.

It follows a meeting in Kampala when a delegation led by Uebert Angel, an international church leader and strategic partner of MediConnect, and Dexter Blackstock, Chief Executive Officer of MediConnect, met with the President of Uganda, Yoweri Musevini, Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, and other high-level government officials. At the meetings, after discussing the benefits of a blockchain solution, the government pledged its support for MediConnect’s solution in tackling the issues facing the country’s pharmaceutical sector and, specifically, indicated that it would be favourable to working with MediConnect to tackle the country’s counterfeit drugs problem.

Uebert Angel, strategic partner of MediConnect, said: “Travelling to Uganda, I was shocked by the extent to which counterfeit drugs have ruined the lives of the most vulnerable people in society. It is therefore humbling to be able to make a difference by investing in the country’s pharmaceutical sector and partnering with MediConnect to identify fake dugs and prevent them from reaching end-users. In our meeting with President Musevini, he made clear his commitment to eliminating counterfeit drugs in Uganda and I am delighted that his government is interested in exploring the use of MediConnect as a national-level solution to achieve this goal.”

As strategic partner of MediConnect, Uebert Angel is using his business and government connections to promote the use of MediConnect’s blockchain solution, an immutable record of prescription medication which enables doctors and pharmacies to identify counterfeit drugs and prevent their distribution in the pharmaceutical supply chain.

According to the Ugandan National Drug Authority (“NDA”), 10 per cent of the drugs prescribed in the country have substandard or counterfeit copies of them sold on the market. Research from the World Health Organization (“WHO”) found that 1 in 10 medical products in developing countries is substandard or falsified, 42% of which are from the WHO African Region. The WHO has urged governments to take action to protect vulnerable communities most affected by the practice.

In March 2019, the NDA launched a campaign to reduce levels of drug fraud in the country, however this has focused to date on recovering counterfeit drugs through raids and running a public education campaign. It is anticipated that MediConnect’s blockchain could be adopted in Uganda as an overarching national technological solution to both identify counterfeit drugs and establish their provenance, thereby preventing future contamination of drug batches. This will reduce the health dangers of fake drugs, weaken organised crime groups, and maximise the country’s medical resources.

Dexter Blackstock, CEO of MediConnect, added: “The Ugandan President, Minister of Health and National Drug Authority all understand the need to act fast to tackle the country’s counterfeit drug problem and recognise the benefits offered by tracing medication on the secure, scalable blockchain framework we are developing. We see this as an important opportunity for MediConnect to form part of Uganda’s national infrastructure and protect its citizens by ensuring all drugs in circulation are authentic and safe.”