The deadly effects of counterfeit drugs are felt everywhere around the world, but perhaps no country has been more heavily impacted by fake medication than Nigeria. Fortunately, the country is making strides to protect its citizens from counterfeit drugs.

Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) began requiring companies producing pharmaceuticals that are authenticated by the agency to have anti-counterfeiting technology.

Dr Paul Orhii, director general of NAFDAC, recently told a meeting of pharmaceutical executives in Lagos that their companies needed to embrace the anti-counterfeiting project. He also said that currently there is no cost to the consumer for the technology.

Specifically, the anti-counterfeiting measure puts a scratch-off number on the drug packaging. Drug takers scratch the area to reveal a number.

“It allows the consumer to text the pin on the recharge card to 38353 and the reply comes immediately to say if the drug is fake or not fake,” Orhii said, according to the news source.

Fortunately, Americans are protected against counterfeit drugs if they purchase them offline from a licensed U.S. pharmacy, or if they buy them online from a pharmacy that has been certified by the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites, or VIPPS, program.