The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) would this year, increase its post market surveillance activities to clear the market of counterfeit, sub-standards and fake medicines which pose health risk to consumers.
“Some companies after registering their products with the FDA do not sell what have been registered with the Authority and we need to ensure that what has been registered with us are exactly what are being sold to consumers on the market.”
Mr James Lartey Public Affairs Director of FDA who made this known in an interview with the media on Wednesday said as part of the Authority’s activities to be embarked on for the year, it would embark on public education targeting the rural areas where there is lack of information.
“Assessing our activities embarked in 2014 has revealed that we need to intensify our education and training programmes using drama series, short documentaries, jingles and we will be working closely with the National Commission for Civic Education to achieve all these.”
He explained that the FDA attaches seriousness to the fight against the importation, distribution and use of counterfeit drugs, unwholesome and expired food substances and would do all it could to ensure the safety of Ghanaians.
“We are working to protect consumers but we have realised that majority of the population is still illiterate, we need to reach them with more education and exposures so that these companies, producers and distributors do not come up with ways of sneaking their fake products into the rural areas where they are most likely to exploit the ignorance of the masses,” he said.
Mr Lartey noted that the only approved routes for the importation of medicines are the Kotoka International Airport and the Tema Habour but “now, we find people bringing in so many medicines through unapproved routes and we will be working with the Customs and Immigration people to curtail this”.
The FDA would also strengthen collaboration with stakeholders such as the judiciary, media and the security agencies through workshops to educate them on the mandate of the FDA.
“By so doing, these stakeholders will understand and appreciate our role and the services we render.”
Mr Lartey said the Authority has received international approval from the World Health Organisation to approve and certify medicines from FDA laboratories in Ghana and would be organising continuous training for its staff on regulations and laboratory activities to ensure quality standards.
He expressed concern about the insanity on the airwaves with regards to illegal advertisements of medicines and said FDA would institute sanctions to anyone who would be found guilty and also serve as deterrence to others.
“With the passage of the new Public Health law, we have the full legal backing to prosecute importers, retailers, and the … public who violates the law”.
The public health law, which has the objective of promoting public health and well-being, strengthen the public health infrastructure, provide essential public health services and functions identify roles and responsibilities of public health agencies and encouraging communities to create and maintain a healthy environment was passed in July 11, 2012 by Parliament and received Presidential assent in November, 2012.