The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in partnership with Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) have presented Guidelines to strengthen the implementation and enforcement of the Mobile Authentication Service (MAS) Scheme by stakeholders in Nigeria.
The guidelines were release following the concerns of the House of Representatives towards ensuring that the MAS is reactivated and applied to all drugs purchased in the country as well as the mandate on its Committee on Health Services to ensure compliance with the resolutions and the commencement of the scheme’s nationwide campaign in order to curb the menace of fake and counterfeit drugs in Nigeria.
Speaking during the event, the Director General, NAFDAC, Professor Moji Adeyeye stated that the MAS scheme is one of the anti-counterfeiting strategies to detect substandard and falsified medical products imported or manufactured in the country, adding that the guidelines would strengthen its implementation and enforcement by stakeholders in Nigeria. She said although, some challenges were encountered during the process of implementation, which include absence of formal Memorandum of Understanding with service providers, reporting template and the guidelines for the procurement of the MAS scheme, a steering committee was reconstituted to address the issues.
Adeyeye noted that the reporting template was developed and circulated to MAS service providers to enhance reporting of its activities, adding that the guidelines, published with the support of Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) spells out the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, especially Holders of Certificate of Registration, the scheme’s service providers and NAFDAC. She, however, noted that MAS provides a platform to empower over 167 million subscribers on the Niger Mobile (GSM) network to verify the genuineness of antimalarials, antibiotics and other medicines currently on the scheme, calling on the regulatory agency’s stakeholders to use the guidelines to ensure adequate compliance with its provision.
Representing Country Manager, CHAI, the Programme Manager, Dr Chizoba Fashanu said implantation and regulatory framework of the MAS project, which should have been reviewed for a long time was the problem, adding the organisation is working with stakeholders to support the development of the guidelines and its structure, in order to reduce Nigeria’s underperformance in drugs.
“If we don’t get drugs right we expose Nigerians to poor quality and financial hardship. High cost of drugs impoverished a country,” she said.Giving his goodwill message, the National Chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists (ACPN) Pharm. Samuel Adekola said community pharmacist would ensure the MAS scheme is implemented to promote the quality drugs in all communities across the nation.