August 22, 2013 — It wasn’t so long ago (about 3 years in fact) when consumers had to spend time looking for certain telltale signs in order to buy drugs in the Nigerian market — we were told to familiarize ourselves with drug packages and content, check holograms, pay attention to the taste of drugs, keep our fingers crossed and hope that counterfeiters had not caught up to drug manufacturers’ new checks for preventing counterfeit drugs. Well these days, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control’s (NAFDAC) Mobile Authentication Service (MAS) provides an easy way for us to check whether or not a drug is genuine. That’s good news!
The not-so-good news is the fact that not all drugs currently sold in the Nigerian market are covered by this service. But there is more good news! NAFDAC recently announced that about 40 drug-manufacturing firms in Nigeria have signed on to use MAS and that the number of firms is on the increase. For now, here are a few drugs that are covered by NAFDAC’s SMS service in Nigeria:
Drug Name: Metformin
Brand Name: Glucophage
Company: Biofem Pharmaceuticals
On February 1, 2010, Biofem Pharmaceuticals, which is the sole agent of Merck Serono in Nigeria, took a bold step and became the first company to adopt NAFDAC’s mobile authentication service on its Type 2 Diabetes drug, Glucophage. Prior to the adoption of MAS by Biofem and the initial successes of this service, many pharmaceutical companies were skeptical and even reluctant to test the technology on their drugs.
Brand Name: Ampiclox
In February 2011, pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced the introduction of NAFDAC’s verification for its antibiotic, Ampiclox. This was part of a six-month pilot anti-counterfeiting program in Nigeria. According to GSK, during the pilot program, consumers were enthusiastic to try out the service and GSK received 145,000 texts from 115,000 unique users with 90% of the texts returning a genuine confirmation.
3. LONART – DS
Drug Name: The combination of Artemether/Lumefantrine
Brand Name: LONART – DS
Company: Greenlife Pharmaceutical Limited
In September 2011, Greenlife Pharmaceutical Limited, a Nigerian-based distributor for prescription medications collaborated with Sproxil and NAFDAC to provide mobile authentication service for its anti-malarial drug, LONART – DS. Prior to this time, there had been several reports of fake LONART – DS being in circulation in Nigeria and seizure of same by NAFDAC.
Brand Name: Artesun
Company: Guilin Pharmaceuticals
Earlier this year, Guilin Pharmaceuticals, a Chinese pharmaceutical company, joined the list of pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria that have adopted NAFDAC’s mobile authentication service. Powered by mPedigree‘s technology, Guilin provides SMS verification on its Artesun range of products in Nigeria.
With the additional adoption of NAFDAC’s MAS by other drug-firms in Nigeria, we can expect that over the next couple of months, we will be able to verify many more drugs using NAFDAC’s SMS service!
This article is intended to provide general information about the subject matter. Professional legal advice should be sought about specific circumstances.