When we first started this project, we did a lot of contemplation as to what counterfeit goods had the most negative impact on society and we were finally led to counterfeit medicine. We felt that this was the most impactful since it regarded health, which is a big concern in today’s society and we felt that addressing the issue of counterfeit medicine held more importance than any other counterfeit good as many more people are victims to it and it is an issue that regards lives.
We delivered our solution to this project in the form of a google chrome extension. With many online pharmacy consumers lacking the proper online tools to recognize legitimate pharmacies, our extension informs users whether or not the online pharmaceutical website they plan to purchase medicine from is legitimate or not. This is done by clicking a button when on a website, which cross checks a database of legitimate online pharmacies and notifies the user if the website is legitimate by displaying a green check mark, or counterfeit by displaying a red cross mark.
Some initial challenges we ran into was figuring out how to address certain parts of the issue with counterfeit medication. We wanted to find a way to restrict low-level issues with online sellers. We tried thinking of many options to restrict from the seller side, but then we recognized that the best way to address this was to create a system on the buyers side. So an extension was created to make sure that the buyers know whether they are buying real medication or not.
What we are most proud of during this project was dealing with the problem in a creative and simple way. We feel that sometimes, the simplest solutions can be the most impactful and we are proud of what the solution we have created as we feel that people are more inclined to use something if it makes their lives easier. Without our solution, people may do little to no research when buying from an online pharmacy. This is where our impact really lies and we are proud to create software that makes people’s lives easier and potentially saves lives.
We learned that it will take persistence and time to develop a full idea. It took us over 4 months to create this full pipeline which allows everyone to communicate and understand the workflow of counterfeit medication. The initial strategy always changes until we have a full fledged idea. Over time, ideas develop and they get better. With three people on this team we were able to bounce ideas off of each other and discuss viable solutions for the larger problem of counterfeit goods. With a specification on counterfeit medication, we took time finding research and current technological implementations to make sure that the product we implement is simple and user friendly. We learnt that time and effort leads to greater results.
The next phase for this project is to use it in real time. Currently the server only authenticates one website which is “youtube.com” This should be implemented on a larger scale with a real database of websites that produce authentic and non-counterfeit medication. Using this on a larger scale will for sure decrease the buying of counterfeit medication, specifically online.