MAS at five: Biofem, Sproxil celebrate
It was celebration galore as Biofem Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Biofem Group, marked five years of Mobile Authentication Service (MAS) in Nigeria.
MAS, which was advocated by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), in response to the spate of fake drugs sold in the country, is a technology-based service which allows individuals with mobile phones to verify the genuineness of a drug, without direct contact with the manufacturer. It was launched in Nigeria on 2 February, 2010, by Biofem Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
Speaking at the event, which took place within the company’s premises in WEMABOD Estate, Ikeja, Lagos last December, Managing Director of Biofem Group, Mr Femi Soremekun, disclosed that the decision taken by Biofem to be the first company in Nigeria to adopt MAS on its Type 2 Diabetes drug, Glucophage, was a bold move. He noted that prior to the adoption of MAS by Biofem, many pharmaceutical companies were reluctant to test the technology on their drugs.
“Our sincere appreciation goes to Sproxil for bringing MAS to Biofem at the time they did. We all know that it takes two to tango. Right from the day we started, it was like a risk. Actually, what we had in mind was that if it didn’t work at the end of the day, we would walk away, but if it worked, we would stay on it and do our best with it. Thank God, today, the success story after five years is here for all to see,” he said.
Corroborating the MD, Biofem’s Executive Director, Mrs. Abiodun Soremekun disclosed that Sproxil came to the company at a time when the company was in dire need of a lifeline from grasp of counterfeiters.
“Although it was highly challenging at the initial stage as so many consumers thought that by scratching the panel they were going to win prizes, we took time to explain to them, coupled with series of campaigns in the media. Gradually, they were able to realise that it was all for their good. We have every reason to thank God because, as at today, I don’t think there is any pharmaceutical company in the country that has as many as 23 of their products covered by MAS like we have in Biofem,” she said.
Also presenting a speech at the event, Mr Chinedu Chidioke, managing director of Sproxil, said MAS was developed by Sproxil in order to tackle the menace of drug counterfeiting in the country. He said Sproxil decided to develop a simple, efficient and cost-effective of helping consumers to verify the genuineness of their products prior to purchasing them.
“Our appreciation goes to Biofem for believing in MAS and for working with Sproxil in making MAS acceptable by all in the fight against counterfeiting and faking in the country and beyond,” The Sproxil boss said, adding that “relief has come the way of consumers now because all that is required of a buyer is to scratch off the label revealing a pin and then text the pin to a certain code for free. This gives an individual the power to authenticate what he or she is buying and also leads to customer satisfaction.”