Handling Consumer Complaint
Consumers are important stakeholders of NAFDAC’s war against fake/substandard regulated products – food, medicines, water, cosmetics, chemicals, medical devices, etc. The Agency therefore makes it a priority to protect consumers’ interests.
Consumers have a joint responsibility with NAFDAC to rid the society of fake/substandard medicines, unwholesome food products, poisonous cosmetics and chemicals, and other substandard regulated products. Thus, in the bid to safeguard public health, consumers are encouraged to make complaints to the Agency on regulated products that fall below standard. Complaints can be made in the form of walk-in complainants, through the Director-General’s Office and via PRASCOR.
Walk-in complaints – When a consumer walks into a NAFDAC office to make a complaint (walk-in complainant), he/she will be interviewed by a regulatory officer and the complaint written down to ensure that relevant details of the complaint and complaint product(s) are documented for an effective investigation to take place.
Complainants are assured of anonymity and confidentiality when they lodge complaints with NAFDAC. When complaints have been investigated, feedback is given to complainants.
The public is encouraged to look out for and insist on certain mandatory features when purchasing regulated products. These are highlighted below:
- NAFDAC registration number (sometimes abbreviated as NRN)
- Date markings – Production date, expiry date/best before, batch/lot number
- Manufacturer’s name and address. The manufacturer’s address should be a physical/ground address and not an email address.
- Product label in English Language: If the label is in a foreign language without an English translation, then it has not been registered by NAFDAC.
- An uncompromised product: Check that the product seal is intact and has not been tampered with.
If these features are missing from the product, do not purchase. Report to the NAFDAC office nearest to you or via any of the other means provided above.
A complainant will be required to provide address of purchase, receipt of purchase, date of purchase, and an uncompromised/intact complaint product (if available).
Reporting via PRASCOR – PRASCOR stands for Pharmacovigilance Rapid Alert System for Consumer Reporting. It is an SMS short code system/servicefor consumers to alert NAFDAC of the safety and quality issues of regulated products via SMS.
PRASCOR is a platform used for reporting both consumer complaints and Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) [*see II below].
A consumer sends a complaint in the form of an SMS to the number/short code 20543 for free and the information is forwarded to NAFDAC by email. When the email is accessed (only by NAFDAC staff), it will be classified either as a complaint or an ADR and treated accordingly.
When a complaint is accessed the complainant will be contacted for further details of the complaint and next steps.
Steps in reporting via PRASCOR
Step 1: A consumer sends information with the name of the medicine or product and the suspected ADR via SMS to the number (short code) 20543 for free on MTN, Glo, Airtel, 9mobile. For example: ‘I took Paracetamol and cannot sleep’
Step 2: An auto response is sent to the consumer acknowledging the receipt of the alert.
Step 3: The information sent to NAFDAC will be accessed only by the NAFDAC staff at the National Pharmacovigilance Centre. The message received will help NAFDAC to get more information from the consumer which will then be used to fill the ADR reporting form to guide the consumer on what to do next.
The PRASCOR service is currently available on all the communication networks – MTN, Airtel, GLO, 9Mobile.