Digital Health Targets Counterfeit Drug Distributors


There is a perception within the health IT industry that innovation has passed over pharmacists. It’s a justifiable complaint, given that nurses, doctors, and therapists have all seen an abundance of new technologies developed and fielded over the last few years in hopes of improving their clinical effectiveness and efficiency. Pharmacists, on the other hand, are still largely using the same technologies that they were using before the HITECH Act and ACA sparked a digital health renaissance, verifying medication orders and managing drug inventories.

Until some brilliant entrepreneur comes up with the next disruptive idea for pharmacists, digital health startups have focused on other points in the medication lifecycle, such as improved drug reference libraries, medication adherence apps for consumers, and even ingestible digital medicines.  Among these startups working along the periphery of the pharmacy is TrackLink, a Wakefield, MA digital health startup that hopes to combat counterfeit drug sales by bringing digital medication tracking to the pharmaceutical industry. TrackLink CEO Shabbir Dahod estimates that 20-30 percent of the global medication supply chain is made up of counterfeit drugs that contain no active ingredient, a potentially dangerous problem for patients that are dependent on their medications.

By building a tightly controlled tracking system that follows each dose of medicine from the point of manufacturing through the supply chain, and all the way to the point of administration, TrackLink hopes to help secure the legitimate pharmaceutical supply chain and make it much harder for counterfeit drug manufacturers to pass off their own products as genuine. To support the effort, TrackLink has created a network of 80,000 manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies, and practitioners that will collectively use a cloud-based system to control the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Founded in 2009, TrackLink has built its business, technology, and network on under $10 million in funding. Now, with laws on the books in the US, China, and several other countries requiring drug tracking systems be implemented, TrackLink’s moment has come and in response, the company has closed a $20 million venture round to expand its team and prepare for an anticipated increase in business over the next three years.

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