NAFDAC Implements New Technologies to Fight Fake Drugs

Dr. Paul Orhii, the director-general of Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), recently announced the implementation of two anti-counterfeiting technologies.

One of the technologies is known as Mobile Authentication Service. With this technology, each drug package is printed with a code that consumers text on their mobile phones to government authorities. The authorities check with the drugmaker to verify the medication’s authenticity and then relay that information back to the consumer, according to The Vanguard.

The other anti-counterfeiting technology involves the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags. This approach sees the placement of tiny RFID tags in drug packaging that broadcast unique radio waves. These signals can be picked up and read by a small hand-held scanner, alerting the consumer to whether the medication is real or counterfeit.

He added that his agency is currently working with the World Bank to find a way to implement the technology without impacting the price of the drugs too much.

The NAFDAC chief said that the agency is working to bring the cost of these technologies down.

“We are negotiating with World Bank and others to bring the cost of text messaging from N10.00 to N2.00,” Orhii said. “Again, we have also negotiated the present cost of RFID of 10 cents to 5 cents, which is about N8.00. But we should not allow these prices to destroy our efforts so far.”

At the meeting in Lagos, Orhii also said that there was a need to create a database of NAFDAC-regulated products to help identify which products, including drugs, are expired or when they will become substandard. He added that this database would also help with the renewal regulatory applications.