Every year, almost 400,000 people die of malaria in Africa1. The World Health Organization estimates that a further 116,000 fall prey to counterfeit malaria medicines2. German start-up authentic.network has come up with a solution to this problem in the form of a novel anti-counterfeiting code based on advanced blockchain technology. This globally unique pilot project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, was officially launched on 19 February by Frank Theeg, founder and co-CEO of authentic.network, during an official visit to Africa, where he was received by Dr Eugène Aka Aouélé, the Minister of Health of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), and Ingo Herbert, the German ambassador to the country.
According to WHO estimates, up to 80 percent of all medicines in Africa are counterfeit3. It is believed that between 30 and 60% of all medicines on offer in Côte d’Ivoire are fake – and this market is growing by as much as 15% a year. Many Ivorians can only afford to purchase essential medicines on the street, which is where counterfeit goods circulate freely.