IPN News coverage
"With (this system), people can be far more confident about the medicines they're taking," said Julian Harris, a research fellow at International Policy Network, a London-based think tank. "Right now, the option for many people is taking medicine from a broken blister packet," said Harris, who is not connected to the project.
Harris said the widespread use of mobile phones in Africa — where many people commonly use cell phones to do banking — should spur the acceptance of the text messaging system.
But he wasn't entirely convinced Nigeria's adoption of the technology could be used for every medicine and said it would be impossible to police. "Any system that is controlled by the government can stifle new technologies," Harris said. Counterfeits are so rife in Africa he said it would take much more than one initiative to fix the problem.
Still, Harris predicted the system would help consumers in countries where corruption often compromises the medical supply. "This will help people whether they're buying their medicines at a hospital pharmacy or a roadside market," he said.