GlaxoSmithKline taps Sproxil for SMS drug authentication

By: Brian Dolan | Mar 9, 2011        

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SproxilGlaxoSmithKline has teamed up with Sproxil to use its Mobile Product Authentication (MPA) codes, which is a text messaged based drug verification system, in Nigeria, according to a report from SecuringPharma.com. GSK is reportedly using the system for its widely-used antibiotic product, Ampiclox 500mg, which sells about 2 million units in the country each year. This is the first foray into SMS-enabled pharmaceutical verification for GSK, according to the report, and if it’s successful the company is likely to roll it out to other products and other markets in Africa.

Sproxil is expanding into additional markets in Africa thanks to its recently announced $1.8 million round of funding. The company also plans to launch subsidiaries in other countries, including India.

In early 2010 Sproxil pitched investors through the online Reuters Small Business presents video series. Sproxil CFO Alden Zecha said that the startup brought in less than $100,000 (USD) in revenue for 2009, the year of its founding. For 2010, Zecha had expected Sproxil’s revenue to top $1 million. In order to expand its sales team, Sproxil was looking for a venture capital injection of between $3 million and $4 million.

Last week SecuringPharma broke the news that Sproxil had secured $1.8 million from an undisclosed investor, according to a document filed with the SEC. Sproxil told the publication that it would use the money to expand into India.

The company’s service has won accolades, too: Former US President Bill Clinton lauded Sproxil’s product offering as a “truly remarkable achievement” during a speech last year.

The Epoch Times described the Sproxil system well: “Person buys drugs. Person scratches a sticker on the bottle or packet to reveal a 12 digit pseudorandom number, then sends it to an SMS shortcode (a five digit number). Person gets an SMS response about whether the drugs are good or not. In that time, the 12 digit number has been routed from the local telecom to servers in the United States, hosted by Amazon. It gets checked against the database, and they get a response SMS telling them whether they should return the drugs, or ingest them.”

More on the GSK deal over at SecuringPharma.com