No doubt, the pharmaceutical industry is big business, and as such unscrupulous people who want to exploit the situation are producing counterfeit drugs. These fake drugs range from containing little or no active ingredient (main chemical) to containing toxic ingredients.
These drugs may be labelled and packaged like genuine drugs but are worthless and can be deadly.
To protect yourself from fake drugs, you need to do the following (SENLEM):
- Buy drugs from a reputable SOURCE or pharmacy (such as a hospital pharmacy)
- Do not buy from street peddlers (hawkers). They sell drugs like they were sweet or biscuit and know nothing about it
- Check for ERRORS such as spelling errors, slightly different font size or colour
- Avoid drugs that do not carry NAFDAC number, manufacturing company and address, or that have different LOOK or smell from that which you know and used to take before.
- Always check the EXPIRY date of any drug you want to buy.
If it’s absent or scratched off, it’s better you avoid it. Taking an expired drug can be very dangerous to your health.
Also important is the Mobile Authentication Service (MAS) which will enable you check whether a drug is fake or original with your mobile phone even before purchase. If the drug is MAS enabled
- Check for a unique panel (like that of a recharge card) on the drug pack.
- Gently scratch off the panel, and text the unique 10-digit pin to 38353 (Every MAS Enabled drug comes with a unique 10-digit pin).
- After a few seconds, you will get a reply telling you whether the drug is fake or original.
- Beecham products like Ampiclox and Amoxil, Lonart (Popular Anti-Malaria Drug), Skineal cream among others work with NAFDAC’s Mobile Authentication Service.
Please, pay close attention to these details when you are to buy a drug, it can save you or someone you care about.
Remember SENLEM, and feel free to share!