Bright Simons

Ashoka Fellow
Accra, Ghana
Fellow Since 2008

Citation

This profile was prepared when Bright Simons was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Bright is improving the safety of pharmaceutical consumers by providing a way for them to identify fake drugs with the first system anywhere in the world by which consumers and patients can instantly verify the source of a purchased pharmaceutical at no cost, right at the point of purchase, using standard mobile phones and SMS messaging.

Bright has created a system for consumers of pharmaceuticals to enable them to confirm the source and quality of drugs they purchase. By simply sending a code embossed on the body of the product in a regular SMS to a dedicated access number, purchasers receive a real time response authenticating the product. His system provides a live, dynamic link between the consumer and the manufacturer. This idea is set to make communication between the buyer and manufacturer a point of purchase routine. The implications for quality assurance, advertising, consumer relations, and customer service are ground-breaking.

Consumers are usually passive participants in efforts to protect them from counterfeit drugs. Bright realized that in developing regions, literacy and low technical capacity limit the efficiency of existing consumer targeted controls such as holograms and bar codes. A simple user friendly system could be used instead by consumers and drug sellers. At the same time he realized the value of getting participating manufacturers and other stakeholders to voluntarily come on board and built a broad coalition to create value for everyone. Pharmaceuticals associations, regulatory agencies and sellers all have a tangible value and benefit in the system, ensuring its sustainability.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers protect their brands and their market share, regulatory agencies fulfill their mandates, shop keepers protect themselves from the liability of counterfeit drugs, and consumers take an active role in protecting themselves from the dangers of counterfeit drugs in an empowering way that helps them reduce their dependency on a paternalistic government. Bright’s platform uses a national four digit number that is easy to recognize, memorize and use and is cost-free to the consumer and the public sector while providing manufacturers a low-cost high-impact marketing platform.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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