The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has expressed concern over the porous nature of the country’s borders.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Mr Hudu Mogtari, medicines approved for importation into the country had to mandatory go through the Tema Port and the Kotoka International Airport which were the designated entry points for such products.
The two entries, he said, were often manned by officials who verified to ensure unregistered products were not allowed into the market.
However, a good number of unapproved routes dotted along the borders of the country served as entry points for drugs that escape the scrutiny of the authority’s officials.
The porous borders were costing the authority some GH¢2.5 million annually on post-market surveillance activities.
The FDA maintained a post-market surveillance system to identify and ensure that there was no unregulated drugs importation into the country.
“Poor border controls have seen unregistered goods entering the country through unofficial entry points that are not designated for the clearance of medicines and other consumables,” Mr Mogtari told the Media in an interview in Accra.
He said, “porous borders have remained a major bottleneck in the prevention of substandard, spurious, falsely labeled, falsified and counterfeit products .”
The boost in the trading of such products, Mr Mogtari said, had necessitated the need for the FDA to periodically conduct post-market surveillance to identify unregistered and non-efficacious products that came through other channels other than the approved points of entry.
“In doing this, we expend heavily in the area of human resources, fuel for vehicles, security and sometimes money to buy products suspected to be fake for testing,” Mr Mogtari explained.
Mr Mogtari also advised that a review of sections of the Ghana Standards Authourity Act of 1973 to address the conflicting roles of the two bodies in the regulation of food and drugs import would help minimise the rate at which unregulated drugs entered the Ghanaian market.
He disclosed that the FDA had initiated moves with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health and the Subsidiary Committee on Trade on the need to review the Standards Authourity Law to ensure that the two bodies did not replicate the role of each other in the areas of standardisation, foods and drugs safety among others.
“It is our hope that Parliament, in scrutinising the review draft legislation of the GSA, would invite inputs from the FDA to avoid situations where they would end up performing an overlapping role of other regulatory bodies”, Mr Mogtrai pointed out.