NAFDAC Commences Mobile Authentication Service On Anti-Malaria, Antibiotics Drugs
In order to sanitise the country of fake and adulterated drugs, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC has commenced a clampdown on antibiotics and anti-malarials whose manufacturers are yet to adopt the agency’s mobile authentication service (MAS) to detect counterfeits.
MAS, a technology pioneered by the regulatory agency, requires drug manufacturers to install a scratch panel on their drug packaging concealing a PIN number that consumers can text to short codes to ascertain the drug is genuine despite its registration number from NAFDAC.
NAFDAC officials sealed off batches of antibiotics and antimalarials in pharmacies in central Abuja on Wednesday after the drugs were taken to market without the scratch panel installed.
NAFDAC has given drug shops 30 days to ensure affected manufacturers come forward.
In a statement, Director of Pharmacovigilance and post marketing surveillance Adeline Osakwe said “The owners themselves have 90 working days to ensure these products are fixed with MAS codes.”
“These are products we have registered, but we do know a lot of things happen along with them. Even when products are registered and in the market, people do at times counterfeit the product and affix NAFDAC numbers. The MAS code is mobile technology based system we have brought to reinforce that securing of the product with the NAFDAC number,” she explained.
“The MAS code will let the consumer know that the product is coming from the source stated on the package. If the code is not there, and it has a NAFDAC number, you may not know whether it is a counterfeited NAFDAC or whether it is actually genuine.”
Manufacturers must first get NAFDAC numbers before they are able to affix MAS codes, which are provided by any of five service providers to which drug buyers can send GSM codes even before they pay for their purchase at pharmacy counters.