Project Overview

Counterfeit and expired pharmaceuticals are a significant problem in the developing world. They may even result in sickness and death. To help counteract this problem, CTED created a system that uses mobile phones to track and verify the origin and identity of pharmaceutical products.

Epothecary is a system which uses built-in functionality in midlevel mobile telephones including cameras, SMS, and optionally GPS to construct a robust system for tracking and verifying the origins of pharmaceutical products and their components at every point in the distribution chain, particularly in the developing world.

Existing strategies to fight counterfeiting include holograms, special packaging, and paper invoice tracing. Each of these methods have however been ineffectual in the face of increasingly sophisticated counterfeiting rings, which inject fake drugs into the market for profit and/or sell off genuine medications on the black market or in adjacent countries at marked up prices.


Epothecary – Cost Effective Drug Pedigree Tracking Using Mobile Phones (PDF)
Michael Paik, Jay Chen, and Lakshmi Subramanian
Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM Workshop on Networking, Systems, Applications on Mobile Handhelds (Mobiheld) Barcelona, Spain, August 2009.

EMLR: Lightweight Mobile Health Records (PDF)
Arvind Kumar, Amey Purandare, Jay Chen, Arthur Meacham and Lakshmi Subramanian
Proceedings of the 35th SIGMOD International Conference on Management of Data (SIGMOD)
Providence, USA, June 2009.