… urge gov’t to intensify communication to counter COVID-19 falsehoods
The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) has expressed great worry at the publication of false COVID-19 medications on social media which has led to panic buying, resulting in shortage of some drugs needed to treat not only COVID-19 but other diseases.
The association is also worried that the wrong administration of these drugs in some cases can make sick patients immune to COVID-19 treatment when they really need it.
According to the PSGH, if care is not taken, the country might find itself in a difficult situation where patients might not get the drugs needed for treatment as it would be locked up in the custody of persons who might not need them or hoarding for capital gains purposes.
The PSGH has also intimated that they have noticed a trend where some unscrupulous players in the medical fraternity are cashing in on these drugs as a false sense of need has been created for them.
“It has come to the attention of the PSGH that, just as there was a rush for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in the early days of the pandemic, the general public is now fixated on procuring Ivermectin and Azithromycin tablets from community pharmacies as prophylaxis against COVID-19, sometimes on scanned prescriptions, text or WhatsApp messages from sources that cannot be immediately verified.
I encourage all pharmacists not to dispense these to clients without a valid prescription but rather seek to offer appropriate pharmaceutical care for immediate symptoms and refer where necessary. This is to avoid possible resistance in patients who may depend on these medications to improve their quality of life as they fight off parasitic infections,” President of PSGH, Benjamin Botwe said in a press statement.
The PSGH said it has noted that some unscrupulous doctors and pharmacists are also engaged in the act of prescribing and dispensing some of these drugs to patients when they are not supposed to do so, a move impeding the efforts being put into fighting the pandemic.
“The PSGH calls on all pharmacists to regularly engage their patients and clients to mollify their fears regarding the safety and credibility of COVID-19 vaccines, arising out of many myths, misconceptions and unfounded conspiracy theories.
We need to reinforce beyond doubt the critical role immunization plays within a functioning health delivery system. We need to prepare a ‘vaccine literate’ public who will trust the science and embrace new vaccines for COVID-19 as they become available,” the statement said.
It is also calling on government to help push out more accurate information and warn the general public about the dangers of such actions as it would derail efforts being used to fight the pandemic.
The PSGH also noted that it is worried with the upsurge of active cases over the past few weeks therefore extending its support on the restrictions placed on social gatherings such as weddings, funerals and concerts. “We call on the government, as a matter of utmost urgency, to further intensify the pandemic response by strengthening disease surveillance and public health interventions,” the statement added.