WHEN DID THE NAFDAC'S MAS START?
It was on the 2nd of February 2010 that NAFDAC introduced the mobile authentification service towards detecting and fighting against fake drugs. It was first launched by Biofem pharmaceuticals Ltd.
WHAT IS THE NAFDAC'S MAS ALL ABOUT?
The NAFDAC mobile authentification service is a technology that allows consumers of drugs in Nigeria to verify whether the drugs they buy are authentic or not. This technology is provided by a company called sproxil. The Director General of NAFDAC Dr. Paul Orhii sums it up this way; “The scratch and text service (MAS) has put the power of detecting counterfeit drugs in the hands of over 100 million mobile phone users in the country”.
HOW DOES THE NAFDAC MAS WORK?
When you buy a drug from the pharmacist’s store and the drug is signed into the MAS technology, it comes with a 10 digits pin covered with a silver panel.
The consumer scratches the label to reveal the pin, and then send it to the NAFDAC’S MAS short code 38353.
Once the pin has been sent, you will get a response within seconds indicating if the drug is genuine or fake. If it is genuine, the response comes as ‘OK’ but it is fake, it comes as ‘Fake, do not use’.
As such, consumers can be certain what they are buying is not something that will kill them.
THE NAFDAC MAS- HOW EXTENSIVE?
As at early 2014, 40 drug manufacturing firms in Nigeria were reported by NAFDAC to have signed on to use this service and that the figure is increasing. Some of the drugs currently having this provision in Nigeria are Glucophage, Lonart and Ampiclox e.t.c.
NAFDAC MAS- A SUCCESS?
To some extent, YES. It first started with Biofem Pharmaceutical Ltd, with other companies reluctant to try this. But just after four years, 40 had signed into this service, and the number keeps increasing. Also, the significant decrease in the number of casualties from fake and counterfeit drugs usage is a testament to the success.
NAFDAC’S MAS- THE QUESTION MARKS
Yes, there are some question marks. One thing is that not all drugs in Nigeria currently use this service. The question is ‘What do we do about those’? Another question that has been asked about this service is that ‘What about the illiterate and those in rural areas without mobile phones? How do they benefit? And yet another question will be “How extensive is the knowledge about this?”
NAFDAC’S Mobile Authentification Service (MAS) is one of the numerous areas health sectors and agencies are using bulk SMS for the betterment of the masses well-being. The MAS short code also shows how effective the use of short codes can be in use of bulk SMS for call to action.
This is just one use of bulk SMS service with wonderful results. The uses are endless. Everyone needs it. Register a bulk SMS account today if you don’t have one yet. Get free bulk SMS units at the point of registration.
Do you agree that bulk SMS is becoming a game changer in NAFDAC’S age long fight against fake and counterfeit drugs? Share your opinion with us using the comment box below.