Discover Meditect, the start-up fighting against counterfeit medicines with an app, and winner of the 2020 BFM business awards. We spoke with Romain Renard, the start-up’s co-founder and a Monégasque at heart.
Meditect tracks medicines. Thanks to a blockchain system, the French start-up can detect counterfeits and alert you through their app. Its main target is Sub-Saharan Africa. “We offer our service in the Ivory Coast and are considering expanding to Senegal and Cameroun by the start of 2021,” explains Romain Renard. By tracking the quality of medicines, the app ensures that developing countries have access to healthcare they can trust.
Monaco’s talented student
Romain Rénard describes himself as “a Monégasque at heart”. The native of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, a town halfway between Nice and Monaco, went to school in the Principality, before leaving the Riviera for Paris and Sciences Po, where he graduated with a masters in Finance and Strategy. “I’m very grateful to the François d’Assise – Nicolas Barré institution. They helped me built a solid knowledge base,” he says. Today, the 25-year old entrepreneur is still tied to Monaco, through “friendship, but also professional bonds”. Among them, two of the start-up’s main investors. “I’ll come back one day,” he says, and adds “And not just to retire”.
Authenticity guaranteed in just a few clicks
The Meditect app offers several free services. It informs you when pharmacies are out of stock of a given medicine and provides information on medication dosage. Above all, it fights against street medicines, which are rife in Latin America, South East Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. “In some countries, 50% of the medicine sold are fake, which means a 50% chance of having complications”. To mitigate the danger, the app allows users to share their experience with any given medication. “They share their physiological reaction to the medicine in order to flag any possible side effects,” says Renard.
A major public health issue
In times of Coronavirus, counterfeit medicines are a scourge that is gaining ground: “I recently was in Abidjan (Ivory Coast). Boxes with Didier Raoult (a controversial French physician) written all over them are flourishing there,” says Romain Renard. Safeguarding medicines is a major public health issue. “Medicines are the most counterfeit good in the world. Every year, laboratories lose nearly 200 billion dollars in lost earnings. But it’s just the economy that is at stake, stresses Renard. “Counterfeit medicines cause one million deaths a year, that’s more than AIDS and malaria put together,” he says.