By Chioma OBINNA & Gabriel OLAWALE
To put an end to activities of fakers of its regulated products, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC) has reviewed its anti-counterfeiting strategies with the official introduction of Mobile Authentication Services (MAS) and an RFID system that cannot be duplicated or copied across the country.
Some of the technologies are use of cell phones to detect fake drugs by sending SMS, Pentesta, Tray testa and internet browsing amongst others.
To this end, the Agency has directed all manufacturers of NAFDAC regulated products to begin implementation of the anti counterfeiting technologies on or before 1st of July 2010.
The Director- General ofÂ the Agency, Dr. Paul Orhii who spoke during the repeat demonstrations of the technologies at the meeting of stakeholders on the implementation of Anti- counterfeiting Technologies in the Nigerian Industry explained that the various technologies would be at no cost to consumers.
Orhii however, saidÂ the introduction of the technologies might affect cost of productions but opined that the gains are more than the disadvantages was mostly attended by Chief Executives of the various pharmaceutical companies explained that the meeting was to fast- track the process, the project and to gain a better understanding of the technologies involved and how they can benefit both the manufacturers, and protection of consumers and the products in the market.
Stating that NAFDAC and Nigerians are eager to get this process started in earnest, he said the presentations would accord stakeholders the opportunity to acquaint themselves better with these technologies and allow them to determine their cost effectiveness, work ability and suitability in Nigeriaâ€™s peculiar environment.
Giving insight on how the MAS works, the Chief Executive ofÂ Sproxil, Mr. Ashifi Gogo said MAS allows the consumer to detect if a drug is fake by simply scratching the 12 digits number on the sachet of the drugs. â€œIt allows the consumer to text the PIN to the short code 38353 to NAFDAC. All network providers are partners and this text is free of charge.â€
Also speaking, the President of GlobalPCCA, Dr. Steve Ams said in order to ensure that power is never a problem in the process, created a technology that is offline but with rechargeable batteries.
Also the President of Association of Pharmaceutical Industry of Nigeria (APIN) Mr.Emeka Obi who acknowledged that the technology was good however expressed worry that the introduction of the technologies would definitely increase the prices of drugs in the country.
â€œI am worried about Nigerians who are living below poverty line. This is because this may cause a rise in prices of drugs as we are also in business to make profits. It is a good strategy against counterfeitersâ€.