The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has been meeting various identifiable groups in the Bono, Bono East and the Ahafo regions regarding the dangers associated with the promotion and the sale of unregistered consumables, especially drinks, foods, herbal preparations and other drugs.
One of such meetings has taken place in Sunyani between the FDA and operators of information centres in and around the Bono regional capital to educate them about legal and safety implications of some of the herbal and other types of medicines they usually promote and sell at their centres.
The Regional Director of the FDA, Akua Amponsaa Owusu, expressed worry that sometimes ordinary fruit juice is presented and marketed in the media as a drug which can cure all kinds of health-related problems such as cancers and heart diseases.
“The unfortunate aspect of this is that an old lady relaxing in her room may hear this being announced on the radio or through an information centre and would just go and buy it and later end up worsening her health condition,” she stated.
According to her, many people have died while several others have had various health complications as a result of the in-take of unregistered and unapproved drug usually advertised in the open market or through information centres and the mainstream media.
Quoting sections of the Public Health Act (2012), Act 851, Madam Akua Amponsaa Owusu explained that “in the event of any publication of an advertisement not approved by the FDA, the sponsor of the advert, the agent as well as the media organisation through which the advert is being played shall be jointly and severally liable.”
She said it is not the intention of the FDA to collapse anyone’s business, but to rather seek and protect public health and safety at all times.
“The FDA is ever ready to assist manufacturers of food and drugs, especially herbal medicines, to go through the required registration process to get their products duly registered. We work within the ambit of the law, we don’t operate outside the law”, she emphasized.
Francisca Patoah Gyarko, a senior regulatory officer of the FDA, explained the various aspects of the Public Health Act (2012), Act 851 to the participants.
She advised information centre operators to request and inspect FDA certification or authorization note from anyone who approaches them to advertise their products before doing so. She explained that it is illegal for anyone to advertise food or drug without the prior approval by the FDA.
She mentioned exaggerated and unsubstantiated claims, deception of consumers, false claims about products as well as delayed and prolonged treatment as some of the negative effects of the airing of unapproved advertisements.
Most of the participants who spoke at the meeting commended the FDA for being proactive in keeping them abreast of the law, and pledged to ensure that their operations conform to the legal framework, going forward.