Health Alert: Fake hand sanitisers can lead to poisoning

Lucia Addae, Executive Secretary of PMAG

The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana (PMAG) has expressed worry over the proliferation of unregistered hand sanitisers on the market, most of which have been proven to be substandard, posing huge health risk to unsuspecting buyers.

According to PMAG, among the many health risks associated with the use of fake or substandard hand sanitisers is poisoning; “It is important we caution the public that they should buy registered hand sanitisers because if they don’t, it comes with the risk of let’s say; having toxic exposures to some other chemicals that are not very good, you could have some alcohol poisoning as well.

You could even have your skin being irritated if you don’t use quality hand sanitisers. If you don’t buy quality ones, they don’t kill the germs on your hand and you can’t fight COVID-19” the Executive Secretary of PMAG, Lucia Addae told the paper in an interview.

She added that at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic many pharmaceutical manufacturing firms went into the production of medicines and other products like sanitisers to help the nation fight the pandemic. Noting that, it was their effort that resulted in the deflating of prices of the product on the market and some huge investments were made to achieve that result.

“Before COVID-19 came, what we realized was that a product like hand sanitiser didn’t have enough demand. What we also realized was that it was something that we had not paid attention to those who make it and what goes into it and its efficacy and all of that.

With COVID-19 hitting Ghana, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana was actually called by the President to ensure that we had quality hand sanitisers manufactured and we also have them manufactured in good quantities to be able to meet the demand. What we’ve realized is that one week after that meeting, we were able to meet the demand.

We manufactured good qualities and good quantities, this meant that we were doing between 5,000 to 50,000 gallons every day to be able to meet the demand. We were able to crash the prices making it unprofitable to increase the price of the product unduly as the case was at the time” Mrs. Addae said.

Recalling the prices then, she said: “I remember at the time a gallon was going for GHȼ450, we were able to reduce the price to GHȼ150 and now I believe it’s even less. The local pharmaceutical manufacturers have done so much when it comes to the fight of COVID and hand sanitiser is one of the classical examples; we went out of our way to do a product that we were initially not doing.”

She explained that; “We were able to give up our raw materials and also make our equipment free to be able to manufacture these things. It meant that we had to set aside human resource. It meant that we had to get the raw materials in the right quantities to be able to manufacture these things.”

She appreciated the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), saying, it has put in the necessary measures to fight the existence of the fake products on the market but the greatest onus is for consumers to be more aware of the risk.

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