For decades, the issue of counterfeit and substandard drugs has been a major public health concern in Africa.
Reports from the World Health Organisation show that over 10 per cent of drugs sold on the continent are either fake or substandard.
In Nigeria, data from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control reveals that the agency destroyed counterfeit drugs worth over $13 million in 2018 alone.
The good news however is that this longstanding problem may soon become a thing of the past , with the invention of the world’s first drug authenticator by Adebayo Alonge, CEO and co-founder of RxAll Inc. – a Canadian based deepTech Start-up firm.
Alonge is an entrepreneur and renowned global pioneer of in-situ drug authentication system – RxAllTM. This revolutionary drug authenticator uses a mobile app connected to a cloud base Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm, linked with a database containing spectral signatures of medicines and a handheld nanoscanner (RxScanner) to test the quality of drugs in less than a minute. This enables regulators, narcotics control agencies, pharma manufacturers and hospitals to track and ensure that all drugs sold are of the highest quality.
This groundbreaking innovation has received global attention and Alonge is at the centre of it all. He recently emerged winner of the 2019 BNP Paribbas Group deepTech Awards, also known as “Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge”, where he beat 4,500 contenders from 119 countries around the world and walked away with the unprecedented feat, Adebayo had led RxAll Inc. to achieve a ulti-million dollar valuation in two years and ramped up seven-figure sales orders in its first year.
He also led its market entry into East Africa (Kenya and Uganda), West Africa (Nigeria and Ghana), South-east Asia (Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore), and the Americas (Canada, USA and Columbia). He also led RxAll to win the 2018 Katapult FutureFest’s Global start-up award in Oslo, Norway, and the 2018 CIO Review Most Promising PharmaTech Vendor Award.
Education and career
Alonge had his secondary school education at Kings College, Lagos, from 1996-2002. He gained admission to the University of Ibadan, in 2002 to study Pharmacy, where he graduated with distinction in 2008. Adebayo began his career in November 2009 as a medical representative at Sanofi Aventis, where he worked till September 2010. During this period, he also worked as a contract pharmacist for the Global HIV/AIDS Initiative.
He then moved on to work for Roche (Now Swiss Pharma Nigeria) as a medical sales representative from 2010 to 2012.
Alonge’s passion and drive for business innovation led him to enrol for the MBA degree (with focus on Strategy and Finance) at the Lagos Business School (LBS) in October 2012. He graduated in July 2014 with distinction. While studying at LBS, he work at BASF as a market development intern (Pharma Ingredients) and later returned to BASF after the completion of his MBA programme in August 2014 to take up the position of market developer (West Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo).
He was there till August 2015, about which time he gained admission to Yale School of Management, Yale University, USA, for his Master of Advanced Management degree programme.
While at Yale, Alonge worked as a consultant for Boston Consulting Group (BCG) (2015-2017) where he pioneered the first BCG office in Sub-Sahara Africa in Lagos, Nigeria. At the completion of his programme, Alonge proceeded to Hitotsubashi Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy for a course in Advanced Management and International Business.
Alonge is currently undertaking a Master of Public Administration (deepTech in Public Policy Concentration) from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA.
In 2016, Adebayo co-founded RxAll Inc., with the aim of providing a means for patients in the developing world to authenticate their medicines. His career in pharma is driven by a passion to eliminate fake drugs as he almost died as a child from a counterfeit medicine.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was right when he said, “The heights that great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight but they while their mates were asleep were upwards toiling into the night”. Indeed, Alonge’s path to prominence wasn’t quite rosy all the way. His firm RxAll, like many start-ups, also experienced its own early challenges when it ran out of cash in the first quarter of 2017, leading more than 75 per cent of the early team members to resign. This almost ended RxAll start-up journey very early in Nigeria.
However, Alonge’s training and experience working for top multinational firms in Nigeria, together with the resilience of the remaining members of his team, enabled him to raise about $400,000 in grants and bootstrapped funds from the Nigerian government, the Yale start-up ecosystem, Merck, Villgro and other support networks.
In September 2017, Alonge enrolled for the G-Startup Worldwide programme in Indonesia where he was among the Top 15 most innovative start-ups worldwide and ultimately emerging a finalist of the 2017 G-Startup Worldwide competition.
Competing and excelling among top science innovators from all over the world would come as a surprise to many, especially for someone like Alonge, who had most of his science education in Nigeria, a developing country battling with an ailing educational system. However, Alonge’s success and achievements show that local talents in Nigeria and indeed Africa, can match their counterparts from the developed world when supported with the right resources and opportunities.
Awards and recognitions
Alonge has received many awards and recognitions. He is a recipient of the prestigious Global Social Venture Award (2016) from InnovateHealth, Yale; Young Innovator – YouWin; 2018 China Award for Best DeepTech Platform in World; Regional finalist, Hult Prize Global Case Competition; and recipient of Adekunle Ajasin Award for Academic Excellence in 2008.
In addition, he is a recipient of the Mandela Washington Fellowship from the US State Department for outstanding contributions to business and entrepreneurship in Africa in 2014. He has also received awards in person from Barack Obama (ex-US president) and Justin Trudeau (prime minister of Canada)
A university student was found drowned in a Manchester city centre canal days after he was thrown out of a club during a night out.
Orlando Nyero, 19, who was studying forensic science, was seen being sick in a toilet at Viva nightclub on Whitworth Street West and was then asked to leave, an inquest heard.
Friends took him back to the Jurys Inn hotel on Great Bridgewater Street and tried to put him to bed.
But Orlando, from Johnson Fold, Bolton, didn’t want to sleep, followed them back downstairs and ‘just disappeared’ at around 3.30am on June 3 last year, Manchester Coroner’s Court was told.
The inquest heard his movements were captured on CCTV cameras and he was last seen ‘towards the end’ of Deansgate Locks.
The footage showed him on his own walking, jogging and at times and running – but there was no evidence to suggest he was being followed or chased. His death wasn’t treated as suspicious after a police investigation, the inquest heard.
No evidence of drugs was found in his system but toxicology tests found the presence of alcohol which would have made him around two-and-a-half times the legal drink drive limit.
The tragedy came after the death in March, 2018, of 19-year-old University of Manchester student Charlie Pope, who also went missing after a night out with friends in the city centre. Charlie’s body was found in the same stretch of water.
Their deaths prompted a campaign calling for a review into safety around Manchester’s waterways and led to barriers being put up and certain canal towpaths being closed off at night.
After the inquest Orlando’s family called for more to be done to ‘prevent further unnecessary and catastrophic losses to families’.
The UK government is backing an advertising campaign urging Nigerian women and girls to find jobs at home instead of “risking a life ofmodern slavery” in Britain.
Posters are to be placed in schools, churches and marketplaces in an attempt to reducehuman trafficking, sexual exploitation and forced labour.
They focus on “aspirational stories of women who have established successful careers inNigeria”, according to theDepartment for International Development.
The Not for Sale campaign is supported by UK aid and involves the National Crime Agency and the UK’s Joint Border Task Force as well as Nigerian law enforcement.
One of the stories featured in the posters, TV and radio adverts relates to Gift Jonathan, a single mother who was raped and tortured while attempting to get to Europe but has since returned to Nigeria and found work as a pastry chef.
“Three years ago, I was a single mother with two children living with my widowed mother,” she said.
“Things were so hard that when my friend told me about travelling to Germany, guy I moved! We only made it to Libya. I was sold, raped and tortured. I saw many Nigerians die including my friend Iniobong.
“When I made it to Nigeria, I met with people who registered me in a vocational centre and encouraged me.
Today I’m a baker in Benin making enough money to take care of my family. My boys will not grow up to be ashamed of their mother. My name is Gift Jonathan and I am not for sale.”
Nigeria has one of the highest figures for modern slavery in Africa and is one of the top five countries of origin for modern slavery victims reaching Europe and the UK.
In 2018 alone, 208 Nigerian nationals were identified as potential victims of trafficking in the UK.
International development secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “Modern slavery is one of the greatest human rights abuses of our time.
“UK aid is working in partnership with the National Crime Agency and Nigerian law enforcement to stop it at its source.
“Together we are tackling the root causes of dangerous migration to prevent vulnerable women and girls from becoming targeted by traffickers.
“The benefits of this will be far-reaching – preventing regional instability and helping us tackle modern slavery here in the UK.”
Five members of a gang who kidnapped and tortured a 16-year-old boy have been sentenced to over 23 years’ imprisonment, today, Friday 12 April at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
Isaac Donkoh, a gang member and drill music artist who was from the Newham area was sentenced along with his accomplices, two 16-year-old and two 14 year-old boys.
All five defendants pleaded or were found guilty of kidnap, false imprisonment, GBH and a number of other offences.
Donkoh had previously enlisted the help of one of the 16-year-old defendants who knew the victim, and on the night of 2 August 2018, the 16-year-old made contact with the victim, suggesting they meet in Gordon Road, Barking. The victim turned up as agreed and a short time later a dark blue Ford Mondeo pulled up, with Donkoh driving and the four other youths in the passenger seats.
The victim was punched in the head and body and ordered into the vehicle. He was threatened with a machete and, once in the car, two plastic bags were put over his head and secured with an elastic band. In evidence, the victim stated that at this point, “I thought they were probably gonna kill me.” Donkoh then drove the car to the home of one of the 14-year-old defendants.
On arrival, Donkoh told the victim that the gang were in possession of a gun and two knives. The victim was held for approximately two hours at the address and subjected to a violent and humiliating ordeal. He was forced to strip naked whilst Donkoh filmed him on his iPhone and threatened to ‘cut him up’ if he did not do so. The men hit him with a metal pole over his face, back, legs and arms and his hair was forcibly cut with scissors, during which time he was slapped in the face, forced to kneel and kicked hard in the head.
Donkoh tried to pour boiling water over the victim’s head, resulting in scalding the victim’s feet, causing serious injury. The victim tried removing his socks but Donkoh would not allow him to. He was also forced to swallow a cannabis joint, kicked in the face and threatened with scissors, all incidents which Donkoh filmed on his phone.
The victim was forced to call his parents and beg for £1500 in order to secure his release.
A bag was then placed back over the victim’s head and he was ordered not to speak to police. He was taken back out to the car and released not far from where he had been kidnapped.
An investigation was launched by the Trident and Area Crime Command, and along with local officers from the gangs unit quickly identified Donkoh and his accomplices.
One of the 16-year-old defendants kept the victim’s iPhone and on arrest, sought to conceal the offences from police by telling them that he had found the phone in the street.
Subsequently on 16 August 2018, the victim was contacted via Snapchat, and was told Donkoh wanted him to drop the charges and not show up in court – and would give him £5000 if he did so.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim McKee, formerly of Trident who led the investigation, said:
“This was an extremely violent incident, which has had a profoundly distressing impact on the victim and his family. Whilst the physical scars of that night have started to heal, I believe the psychological impact on the victim has been lasting.
“Donkoh fronted drill music videos for his gang which goaded rivals and recruited boys as young as 14 to commit serious violence. I believe that removing Donkoh from the streets of Newham has done a great deal to reduce serious violence in the borough, as we identified a direct correlation between his drill videos which glorified violence and shootings and stabbings on the streets.”
Donkoh and his four accomplices were convicted as follows:
Isaac Donkoh, 22 of Ixworth Place, SW3 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to falsely imprison, conspiracy to blackmail, causing GBH, perverting the course of justice by offering money for a witness and perverting the course of justice by attempting to persuade a witness. He was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
A 16-year-old male pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap and perverting the course of justice by offering money for a witness and was found guilty of conspiracy to falsely imprison and conspiracy to blackmail. He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
A 16-year-old male pleaded guilty of conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to falsely imprison and conspiracy to blackmail. He was sentenced to three-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
A 14-year-old male pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to falsely imprison and was found guilty of conspiracy to blackmail. He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
A 14-year-old male pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to falsely imprison on 23 January and was found guilty of conspiracy to blackmail. He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
ARothesay, N.B., woman whose HondaCR-Vhas been recalled says she’s caught in a battle with the automaker after it refused to repair her vehicle and instead “pressured” her to sell it back for less than she believes it’s worth.
The story published in cbc.ca reports that Renee Landry recently took her 2007 all-wheel-drive CR-V to a Saint John dealership to fix the windshield wipers. It’s then that she learned the model is under recall in provinces that use a lot of road salt over concerns the rear frame could rust.
But it remains in the lot atFundyHonda. That’s because Landry says she was told the problem was “not fixable” on her vehicle, and her only options were to take a $6,291 buyout offer or sign a form releasing Honda Canada from any liability if she chose to drive the SUV away.
“It just doesn’t sit right with me that they can tell me that my vehicle is not roadworthy and then they also get to decide how much they’re going to give me for it,”Landrysaid in an interview.
The recall was issued Jan. 17 and affects almost 84,000CR-Vs sold between 2007 and 2011. Transport Canada said it applies to vehicles originally sold or currently registered in areas of heavy road salt usage, including Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.
There are no laws specifying howautomakersshould calculate the value of recalled vehicles or what period of time they have to offer consumers to considerbuybacks.
We were being rushed’
Landrysaid Honda Canada gave her a loaner vehicle for one week, telling her she would have to make a decision on herCR-V within that time period or the dealership would start charging her for storing the vehicle. The dealership subsequently toldLandryit would not charge her.
She had hoped herCR-V, which has 240,000 kilometres on it but is in good condition and is paid off, would last another few years.
“I felt we were being rushed and we were also really pressured into buying a car from Honda,”Landrysaid, adding there is nothing on the dealership lot she can buy for the buyback amount offered.
George Iny, director of the Automobile Protection Association, said while some owners are happy with their buyback offers, his organization is hearing from people who are not.
“The buyout offers are all over the map,” he said in an interview, calling the calculation process “opaque.”
Some offers seem very generous, he said, while in other cases “it would be impossible to find a used CR-V on the market in the condition of the consumer’s vehicle for the money they’re being offered.”
Landry was never told how Honda arrived at her buyback offer.
Honda Canada declined an interview request, but spokesperson Laura Heasman described the offer as “reasonable.”
She did not provide a breakdown of how it determined the value of Landry’s car.
Heasman said in an email the company “consults a variety of leading third-party vehicle valuators to obtain an estimated vehicle value based on key vehicle attributes such as model year, trim and mileage, as well as the overall condition of the vehicle.”
She said the automaker then adds a bonus amount to the estimated vehicle value as goodwill and to help cover sales taxes customers may need to pay on a subsequent vehicle purchase.
Landry thinks the process is unfair.
“The vehicle should not be assessed for value by the only people who are willing to buy it out,” she said.
Iny said there’s a perception that dealers and Honda are “going to bully you to try and get you out of your vehicle.” One way they do that, he said, is by giving owners like Landry very little time to make up their minds.
“There’s no legal imperative to ask you to decide to give up your vehicle in a few days. They could give you more time,” Iny said.
He also said some customers are not being told the recall provides for a second, more detailed inspection that could result in a more involved and costly repair. Honda, he said, “would prefer to buy your vehicle back instead of paying for repairs and keeping it on the road.”
He notes structural repairs are expensive and time consuming, with the potential to overwhelm the dealers that have in-house body shops. Every vehicle can be repaired, he said. The issue is at what cost.
Therecall details on Transport Canada’s websitesays if the vehicle passes inspection, dealers will apply corrosion protection. “For a vehicle that does not pass inspection, Honda will repurchase the vehicle. In the event the repurchase is declined by an owner, a secondary inspection and body shop repair may be possible.”
Fundy Honda general manager Dave Valiquete said they did complete a second inspection. But when asked by CBC News whether that meant lowering the gas tank, which is part of the Level 2 inspection, he replied, “Yes, we had it up on the hoist.”
When it was pointed out that putting it on the hoist is not the same as lowering the gas tank, Valiquete saidCBCNews would have to speak to Honda Canada.
Heasman, the Honda Canada spokesperson, said the company has been in contact with Landry and “intends to continue to work with her to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement regarding her vehicle in furtherance of this safety initiative.”
Landry said there’s nothing mutually agreeable about her conversations with the company, and said the most disappointing part of the experience has been Honda Canada’s customer service