A Quick Look at Some Drugs Covered by NAFDAC’s Mobile Authentication Service in Nigeria

Imsge Credit: © Iodrakon | Dreamstime

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:

1. Glucophage

glucophageDrug 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.

2. Ampiclox

Brand Name: Ampiclox

Company: GlaxoSmithKline

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.


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.

4. Artesun

ARTESUNBrand 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.


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About Ufuoma Akpotaire 307 Articles
Ufuoma is a Senior Editor and Director of Regulatory Policy at NLIPW. She assists clients in the protection of copyrights, trademarks and patents. She counsels clients regarding validity and infringement matters and has experience acting against the infringement of IP and addressing counterfeit issues. She holds a Masters degree (LL.M.) from Columbia Law School, New York and a law degree from the University of Nigeria (LL.B. Honors). She is admitted to practice law in Nigeria and in the State of New York. Ufuoma cut her teeth in the intellectual property practice groups of some of the largest law firms in Nigeria and has years of experience working with major non-profit organizations in New York. Email: uakpotaire@nlipw.com