Africans text message to check if drugs are real非洲人將可用簡訊查明是否是真藥

 ◎ 魏國金
For Africans wondering whether the malaria drugs they’ve bought are real, there may soon be a quick way of finding out: sending a text message.
Across the continent, more than 30 percent of malaria medicines are estimated to be fake, and many look identical to the real thing.
A new project called mPedigree lets consumers send in a code via text message that lets them check if their drugs are genuine. It was recently adopted in Nigeria, with plans for wider use elsewhere in Africa.
Ghanaian entrepreneur Bright Simons developed the mPedigree system; its technology and security infrastructure is now being provided by Hewlett Packard. The system assigns a unique code to genuine malaria medicines, printed on the back of medicine blister packs under a sheet that is scratched off like a lottery ticket.
Customers send a text message to a central hot line with the code and instantly get an "OK" response telling them if the drug is registered and thus real. If the drug isn’t registered and potentially fake, people receive a text message that says "No. Please recheck code." The system is free for consumers.
Health officials say the innovative system could help Africa curb the tide of fake drugs and potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives. Rich countries have long employed expensive methods, like tracking systems or sophisticated equipment, to verify whether drugs are authentic.
scratch︰抓、搔、刮。例句︰Scratch my back and I will scratch yours.(你挺我,我就挺你。)
curb︰抑制、控制、遏止。比如︰curb an impulse(抑制衝動)、curb one’s anger(按捺怒火)。
verify︰證實、核實。例句︰Subsequent events verified my suspicions.(接續發生的事件證實了我的懷疑。)

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