In a decisive move to achieve President Goodluck Jonathan’s declarative statement on zero tolerance to counterfeit drugs, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has commenced enforcement of the deadline for implementation of the Mobile Authentication Service (MAS) by pharmaceutical companies nationwide.
The enforcement operation which started in Abuja on Wednesday, 2nd July, 2014 under the auspices of the Pharmacovigilance and Post Marketing Surveillance Directorate of NAFDAC was geared towards mopping up from circulation all anti-malarial and anti-biotic medicines that do not carry on their labels, the MAS scratch and text authentication codes which were introduced since 2010 by NAFDAC’s Director-General, Dr. Paul Orhii to save consumers from the menace of fake drugs.
Director-General of NAFDAC, Dr. Orhii who is currently celebrated worldwide for introducing multi-layered anti-counterfeiting technology said there is no going back on enforcement of compliance with the MAS deadline which has previously been shifted twice in the last 3years due to plea for more time by segment of the pharmaceutical industry.
Dr. Orhii said NAFDAC has the full support of the President and Honourable Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu to enforce implementation of the service in a bid to eradicate counterfeit drugs in the country.
He disclosed that firm instruction has been given to all NAFDAC offices across the country to go round various pharmaceutical outlets to enforce compliance as deadline is irreversible and sacrosanct.
According to him, the scratch and text service (MAS) has put the power of detecting counterfeit drugs in the hands of over 100million mobile phone users in the country.
The Director-General stated that the international community is full of commendation for Nigeria for pioneering the use of cutting-edge technologies in combating counterfeit medicines.
Meanwhile, the Enforcement team led by Director of PVG/BMS, Mrs. Adeline Osakwe cracked down on over 50 pharmacies in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja who were found to have stocked anti-malarial and anti-biotic drugs without the scratch and text codes.
A consultative /sensitization forum was organized last week by NAFDAC to iron out the grey areas preparatory to enforcement of the MAS deadline.