Counterfeit drugs: Reps urge NAFDAC to enforce MAS to protect Nigerians

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By EricJames Ochigbo
House of Representatives has urged the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to ensure that the Mobile Authentication Service (MAS) is re-activated and applied to all drugs purchased in Nigeria.

The house also urged Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) to ensure implementation.

The green chambers urged NAFDAC to, as a matter of urgency, begin a nationwide publicity on MAS to enlighten the public.

The House took the decisions following unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Babajimi Benson (APC-Lagos) during plenary session on Tuesday.

Moving the motion earlier, Babajimi said that fake drugs undermined every aspect of medical treatment and was a major cause of death.

He said that adulteration and counterfeiting of drugs negatively affect wellbeing.

Babajimi added that trade in illicit drugs had escalated in Nigeria in recent times, noting that NAFDAC initiated MAS in 2010 to combat counterfeit drugs.

The lawmaker explained that MAS allowed consumers to send by text message, an authentication code to a NAFDAC approved designated number to confirm the genuineness of purchased drugs.

According to him, MAS allows consumers seeking to buy genuine drugs to scratch a coating on the packaging of the drug to reveal a unique 12 or 13 digit PIN.

He explained that the code could be sent by Short Message Service (SMS) text to a short code of 38353 and get response within seconds indicating if the drug was genuine or potentially fake or stolen.

The lawmaker added that there had been less campaign on the authentication process in recent times and that most over the counter drugs and infant syrups do not have the unique 12 or 13 digit PIN.

He urged NAFDAC and SON to be up and doing in the task of educating the public on
how to identify fake and counterfeit drugs, stressing that sensitisation was key.

The Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara, mandated the Committee on Health Care Services to ensure compliance (NAN)
Edited by Janefrances Oraka/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

Biola Lawal

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