In 2004, while suffering through a severe asthma attack, Adebayo Alonge was prescribed Ventolin tablets, of which he consumed two-four milligram tablets (4mg). While he anticipated the easier breathing and relaxed muscles usually brought on by the drug; he got instead an extended stay on life support, caused by a surge of liquid to his lungs, a situation so dire. He had just consumed fake drugs.
Luckily, he survived the ordeal, but not before realising his life’s mission was putting an end to the consumption of fake drugs. An ethos which followed him through his tenure at Kings College Lagos, The University of Ibadan, where he studied Pharmacy, The Lagos Business School where he got his first MBA and finally Yale School of Management where he met the co-founder of his company RxAll– Amy Kao.
Alonge’s company- RxAll, is an AI Hyperspectral platform for authenticating drugs.
These fancy words, broken down simply, translate to his company using scanners to confirm if a drug is real or fake – in real time, the very first ever produced in the entire world. Through this scanner, radio frequency waves are transmitted onto drugs compounds, to determine whether or not the drug is real.
And even better, while this technology would usually go for thousands of dollars, twenty thousand to be precise, Alonge’s company has found a way to reduce its cost by one-twenty, coming in at a whopping $1000. RxAll achieved this through the use of fewer components in the scanner’s hardware.
Confirming that his company is doing nothing but the Lord’s work, Adebayo Alonge’s RxAll won the prestigious 2019 BNP Paribas Group Deep Tech Award, also known as the Hello Tomorrow deepTech contest, which saw him which going home with the prize of €100k. Beating out 4,500 contenders from 119 nations. Major!
The nanoscanner is in use in countries like Canada, China, Myanmar, Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana.
Though Nigeria is listed as one of the countries in which the product is available, and his company – RxAll was a beneficiary of the Federal Government’s YouWin programme, it is yet to be widely accepted and used in the state.
And with the National Agency for Food And Drug Administration and Control destroying fake food and drugs worth over ₦4.7 billion in 2018 alone, its use is more than crucial for drug consumption in the country.
However, we might wait only a little bit for its widespread use in Nigeria, if Alonge’s long term goals are anything to go by.
He plans to get the product into more West African States within one or two years, and he’s leaving out room for the spread of the device in South East Asia and Latin America.
We’re all rooting for this! Here’s hoping an end to the use of fake drugs is closer than we all imagine.