The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has reiterated its commitment to fighting against sales of counterfeit drugs and expired food substances on the market, which pose threats to human health and safety.
According the FDA, almost all alleged aphrodisiacs for sexual empowerment sold on the market as well as advertised in the media are not certified or registered, and so the public must avoid patronising them.
It has therefore vowed to prosecute all persons found flouting the laws, as well the media houses aiding the promotion of uncertified drugs in the country to deter others from the act.
The Public Affairs Director of FDA, Mr. James Lartey who made this known at a pressing briefing in Tamale, the Northern Region capital, stated that: “With passage of the new Public law, we have the full legal backing to prosecute importers, retailers, media houses and the public who violate the law”.
The Public Health Act 2012, Act 851 sections 100 and 114, which have the objectives of promoting public health and well-being, strengthening the public health infrastructure, providing essential public health services and functions, identifying roles and responsibilities of public health agencies, and encouraging communities to create and maintain a healthy environment were passed in July 11, 2012 by Parliament and received Presidential assent in November, 2012.
He explained that per the mandate, offenders will be made to pay a minimum fine of 7,500 penalty units equivalent to GH¢90,000, while the maximum fine will attract 15,000 penalty units equivalent to GH¢180,000. Or an administrative fine of GH¢25,000 will be imposed pursuant to provision of the fees and charges instrument 2016, (LI 2228), or they will face between 15 and 35 years imprisonment.
Mr. Lartey noted that the FDA has initiated steps to monitor various media houses in the country which flout its directive by advertising uncertified drugs and aphrodisiacs – which is destroying the youths especially.
He therefore appealed for media houses to liaise with the FDA to ensure that any drugs or aphrodisiac brought for advertisement has approval from the FDA.
He expressed worry that most of these foreign aphrodisiacs are supplied through unapproved entry points to the country, with most of the locals also not going through the proper certification process.
He added that the focus of this directive is not to collapse anyone’s business, but to protect the future of the country – for which reason transgressors of this directive will face the law accordingly.
Mr. Lartey also revealed the fact that a particular company is going to be contracted for the purpose of monitoring various media platforms across the country to ensure the law is adhered to, and also to identify possible violators of the ban.
Touching on the tramadol issue, he noted that efforts are being made to educate the public to desist from abuse of the drug and rather seek a medical prescription before using it.
Mr. Emmanuel Nkrumah, Head of Cosmetics and Household Chemical Substance Department at the FDA, said the FDA has banned hydroquinone in cosmetics – as it has been identified to have implications when used on the body, such as leading to bleaching.
To combat the issue at hand in ensuring effective and efficient delivery of mandates, all regional offices are going to be strengthened with staff, logistics and incentives to curb the menace in the country he said.
He added that hydroquinone in cosmetics causes kidney and liver diseases, skin-cancer among others; he therefore urged people who use cosmetics which contain hydroquinone to desist from the practice.
“We have therefore intensified our public education programmes, media sensitisation, product quality monitoring and post-market surveillance to monitor skin-lightening products on the market that have not been certified by the FDA,” he said.
He stressed that certain substances added to cosmetic products pose health risks to the users, and many may cause skin cancer.
He reiterated that the efforts being made by the FDA are to ensure sanity and also curb the influx of aphrodisiacs and other uncertified drugs being sold to the public
The Northern Region Director of FDA, Mr. Martin Kusi, said the media briefing was to help educate the media on the sale of unwholesome drugs on the market – and the need for aid in sensitising the public to desist from their use.
“The FDA is concerned with the public health and will continue helping to speed innovations that will make medicines and foods more effective, safer to improve their health,” he said.