Dr. Paul Orhii, the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said drug and product counterfeiting in the country has reduced markedly since he assumed office.
Orhii made this known in his new book titled: The Odyssey of a Survivor, launched recently in Lagos.
Research, according to the book, was done to determine whether the agency was winning the war against fake drugs in the country and it came out to prove that counterfeit drugs were not as common as they used to be several years ago.
According to Orhii, a national survey on the quality of medicine was conducted by the agency across 29 states including the Federal Capital Territory between January, 2010 and April, 2012 and it showed the incidence of fake and counterfeit drugs had reduced from 16.7 per cent as the statistics showed in 2005 to 6.4 per cent as at 2012.
The NAFDAC boss attributed the success to the introduction of cutting-edge technologies which the agency has embraced and used in the fight against substandard medicine and products in the country.
He further said that the cutting edge technologies used has made the world to see the agency as a global leader and a reference point in terms of tackling drug and product counterfeiting.
He added that NAFDAC under his administration remains the first food and medicine regulatory authority in the world to deploy and use the Truscan, which is a hand held device used for on-the-spot detection of counterfeit medicines
According to Orhii, because of what the agency has achieved through the use of Truscan, the United States, Sweden, Canada, and many other countries in Africa including Kenya, Cameroon and Uganda have started using it to fight drug and product counterfeiting in their respective countries.
He also spoke on the newly introduced MAS system which enables Nigerians confirm the authenticity of drugs via their mobiles phones, encouraging Nigerians to embrace this system Orhii said,
“We have also put the power of detection of counterfeit drugs and products in the hands of the Nigerian consumers, realising that over 80 million Nigerians own and use cell phones, hence we introduced the Mobile Authentication System (MAS) using SMS. If the person’s phone gets an SMS response of ‘Ok’ it means the product is genuine but in cases where the product is fake, the SMS response would read ‘fake, do not use’.”