It seems that the Society for Family Health, SFH, may have finally found a way to beat drug counterfeiters. Recently, the organisation unveiled the mobile authentication service, MAS, coding for Postinor 2, an emergency contraceptive pill, in Lagos. With the launch, it was revealed that people can now buy Postinor 2 from a pharmacy, scratch the packet and send the code for free to 1393 to confirm its genuineness.
The motive behind this development is not just to hike sales. Bright Ekweremadu, managing director, SFH, said an emergency contraceptive like Postinor 2 is capable of reducing maternal and child mortality rates in the country. “Emergency contraceptives have been identified by the United Nations as one of the 13 affordable and effective life-saving commodities under reproductive health. Emergency contraceptives are also very important in cases of rape and in conflict-prone situations where regular contraceptives are unavailable or inaccessible. Emergency contraceptives help to prevent maternal mortality by reducing the risk of unsafe abortion,” he said.
Paul Orhii, director-general, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, who was at the event, expressed his relief at the MAS coding. “People fake antibiotics, some even fake anti-diabetes drugs. We have tried hologram and some cutting-edge technologies but these counterfeiters would have decoded it even before it is launched. With this MAS coding, every Nigerian has become an informant. Any Nigerian from any part of the country can simply send a message from any pharmacy that is selling counterfeit Postinor 2 and our officials can easily trace that pharmacy.”