Aasandha, the state’s universal health insurance provider, has announced a new system to verify medication purchases through SMS codes. Medication will now be issued once a dispensing code sent to the patient’s phone is entered into a specific pharmacy’s system as verification, according to Aasandha.

“Patients will receive a dispensing code on their mobile phones when they go to the pharmacy to pick up your medicine. The code will expire within an hour,” an official explained to local media.

According to the official, the new system was introduced to address the issues of prescription fraud and misuse.

Some clinics had complained that their prescriptions were being filled at other pharmacies, while some pharmacies had falsely claimed that patients had bought medicine from them, Aasandha said.

The state universal health insurance scheme, which provides free medical assistance to all Maldivians, has cost the state MVR 1.5 billion so far in 2023. Aasandha Company Ltd., a wholly state-owned enterprise (SOE) established in 2011, manages the scheme.