Whilst most of us are still trying to make some sense out of Alibaba’s acquisition of a controlling stake in CITIC 21cn, a loss-making pharmaceutical data company, for US$171.23 million earlier this year, Alibaba has announced that it has successfully integrated CITIC 21cn’s digital database of drugs into its e-commerce platform and cloud computing system, and is preparing the launch its “Drug Safety Plan”.

Counterfeit or substandard drugs have been a long existing issue for China, according to a Baker & McKenzie report, China is the largest producer of counterfeit medication in the world. Under the proposed plan, users can use Alipay and Mobile Taobao to scan the barcode and electronic registration code on the packaging of any existing drug on the market, in order to retrieve information about its authenticity, prohibition, production and distribution.

Obviously, such apps wouldn’t function well without the database of CITIC 21cn, whose business is mainly to provide electronic registration information to third parties including government agencies, manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and consumers. CITIC 21cn’s platform has been widely accepted and applied throughout the nation, covering drugs, food and beverages, agriculture products and home appliances.

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Scully Wan

Beijing based tech contributor. Follows social media, e-commerce, digital currency, healthcare and life science, economy, fashion and design, and everything that involves inter-cultural phenomena. You...