Background: The issue of fake drugs is a global threat, especially in developing countries like Nigeria. Thus, NAFDAC, among other strategies, launched a Mobile Authentication Service (MAS) scheme that enables the public to authenticate drugs at the point of purchase using scratch codes and Short Messaging Service (SMS).
Objective: The study examined the level of public awareness, knowledge, and use of MAS in eradicating fake drugs in South-east Nigeria.
Methods: The study adopted a mixed methods research of survey and Key Informant Interviews (KII). The data gathered from 400 respondents via a structured questionnaire were analyzed using descriptive and inferential analysis, while the transcripts from KII were thematically analysed.
Results: The analysed data reveals a low level of awareness, knowledge, and use of MAS among respondents, especially in rural areas. Some challenges faced by the respondents in the use of MAS include a low level of awareness and knowledge of MAS, poor network services, elitist nature of the campaign messages on MAS, and partial access to MAS among drug manufacturers. The data also reveal strategies towards enhancing the operations of MAS to ensure its efficiency in eradicating fake drugs in Nigeria.
Conclusion: The study, therefore, concludes that the level of public awareness, knowledge, and use of MAS is relatively low, especially in rural areas. The study found that the use of MAS if enhanced is an efficient scheme in eradicating fake drugs in Nigeria.
Chinonye Faith Chinedu-Okeke, Nnanyelugo Okoro, Ike Sylvester Ndolo and Ijeoma Obi