The National Agency for Food, Drugs, Administration and Control (NAFDAC) recently unveiled a Mobile Anti-Counterfeit System (MAS). This system was introduced, in collaboration with an indigenous pharmaceutical company, BIOFEM. The system is a service which operates on the Global System Mobile (GSM) which is introduced as part of measures to minimize incidence of drugs counterfeiting in Nigeria. This service was first introduced by a United State Company, Sproxil Incorporated. The Nigerian subsidiary of Sproxil Incorporated is partnering with NAFDAC and BIOFEM in this regard.
The service works on a short messaging service (SMS) through a short-code '38353' on the major mobile service operators in Nigeria. Illustrating the way this service works, the Director General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii explained that upon purchase of a drug, a consumer can confirm whether the drug is genuine by simply sending text from the 12 digits scratch numbers on the drug through the short-code and immediately, a SMS response will be received indicating the genuineness or otherwise of the drug. This service was test-run on a diabetes drug, Diacophage.
This service, which is at no cost to the customer, is an attempt to consolidate on the fight against piracy and counterfeiting of drugs in Nigeria. Although the service is not available for all drugs in the country yet, it is believed that over time, the service will be extended to other drugs. This service is also aimed to assist the agency to detect any pharmacy selling counterfeit drug, since the consumer could easily alert the NAFDAC to swing into action.
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