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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
Your child is feverish and hacking, so you rush to the pharmacy to buy some cough syrup. If you’re living in the United States or Germany, you trust that the bottle contains exactly what the label describes. But in the developing world, there’s a one-in-three chance the medicine you purchase will be fake.
Counterfeit drugs are a big and cruel business across much of Africa. They not only waste consumers’ money but put public health at risk. Western tools for authenticating pharmaceuticals—such as chemical testing, nanotechnologies, radio frequency identification, or holograms—rely on labs and technologies that aren’t always available in the developing world, where even electricity is unreliable. And even if government regulatory agencies are in place, they lack the resources to match well-funded counterfeiters.
“All these options have failed us,” says Ashifi Gogo, a young, Dartmouth College-trained engineer who is a native of Ghana. “They don’t work in developing nations.” Gogo is the cofounder of