Near-death Experience Inspired Alonge’s Dogged Fight Against Fake Drugs

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The late Professor Dora Akunyili is best remembered for her dogged fight against fake drugs during her stint as director general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), having been inspired by people close to her who died of the menace. For Adebayo Alonge, it was a personal experience.

He related in an interview, “I was on life support after using Ventolin tablet, 4 milligrams. The drug was found not to contain any active ingredient; this experience was what inspired RxAll. I almost died from a fake drug and I knew so many people are dying every year from fake drugs. I knew if I solve this problem, I am saving the lives of millions of people. It was not about money. It was not about fame.”

Alonge is a Nigerian pharmacist combating Africa’s counterfeit drugs with artificial intelligence. Alonge is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of RxAll, an AI-hyperspectral platform for authenticating drugs. He has developed a handheld nano-scanner called ‘RxScanner’ that detects fake drugs in real time.

In 2019, Alonge competed against 4,500 candidates from 119 nations across with his RxScanner. 80 finalists took part in the Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge that took place in Paris in March.

With his life-saving invention, Alonge emerged as the winner, becoming the first African to win the contest with €100,000 ($113,000) prize awarded by BNP Paribas.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently applauded Alonge for his AI invention.

RxAll was established in 2017 and the company “uses a proprietary molecular sensor device with a cloud-based IP-protected deep learning algorithm and database of spectral signatures of drugs- both prescription and recreational- to carry out non-destructive drug authentication.”

The firm says it works with drug regulators and other investors to reduce branded drug counterfeiting and guarantee that patients receive high quality authenticated drugs. Pharma manufacturers increase sales and patients have better access to high-quality drugs, it says.

RxAll is presently operating in Nigeria, the USA, Canada, China, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, The Gambia and Ghana, but it is also expanding its business in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Americas.

The RxAll unique technology has a downloadable app for android and Ios users and it aims to guarantee the quality of drugs delivered to patients across the world.

It has a drug delivery platform called “RxDelivered” that enables hospitals, pharmacies and patients to order high quality and genuine drugs for home/office distribution from its wholesale network within one hour.

Alonge is not just a pharmacist. He is also a market development professional with a business degree from Yale. He has more than 10 years in market development and strategy consulting across Africa working with BCG, BASF, Roche and Sanofi.

Alonge avered that he is a passionate African interested in using technology, especially deep tech, which is the interception of science and programming, to solve social problems in Africa, and in the rest of the developing world.

In his words , “My focus is to reduce the gap, and provide opportunities for those who don’t have the privilege, and I believe that technology is the solution to enabling this sort of reduction of inequality in the society.”

Henry Onoghan

Henry Onoghan

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