Birmingham Business Journal

MedSnap tackles counterfeit drugs

Birmingham tech company MedSnap recently rolled out a new product that could have a significant effect on the pharmaceutical industry as a whole.

The product is  the company’s new MedSnap Verify Services, which works with pharmaceutical companies for authentication and quality assurance of pills in their production lines.

“Once you understand what’s being produced, you can deploy this to the field and determine if pills all over the world are real or not,” MedSnap CEO Patrick Hymel said.

Hymel said it is largely complementary to the company’s existing MedSnap ID app for doctors and pharmacists.

Hymel said for the 4,500 unique pills in MedSnap’s system, the system keeps track of 15,000 visual variants — subtly different pill appearances due to variation in manufacturing process. After discussing with pharmaceutical industry experts, it was recognized that this level of visual precision could also be used to identify pills that may be counterfeit. Counterfeit medications pose a significant and increasing threat worldwide.

A report from Michigan State University shows that 700,000 Africans die each year from “consuming fake anti-malarial or tuberculosis drugs.”

MedSnap’s solution could go a long way toward helping get these counterfeit drugs out of circulation by creating a way to identify them.

Hymel said there is a lot of effort in the industry to track packaging but not evaluating the pills themselves, and not in a way that is non-disruptive to their production like Medsnap.

So the possibilities for MedSnap, and for the pharmaceutical industry, are enormous.

“This is the reason I’m an entrepreneur: We’re creating a business model where the amount of patients you can help and the amount of revenue you can bring in are correlated.”
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