Beware of fake, substandard medicines – FDA urges Ghanaians

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has issued a warning to the public regarding the presence of counterfeit and substandard medicines in the market. This caution is aimed at safeguarding the health and well-being of individuals and preventing adverse reactions.

“We have realised as a regulatory body that there has been an influx of substandard and falsified medications on the market, so there is the need for the public to look out for certain things to make sure that whatever medication they go to buy is safe for use.”

Mr. Jude Okai, a Communication Officer at the FDA, conveyed this message during an interview with the Ghana News Agency at a sensitization program held in Bolgatanga, Upper East Region. The event is part of the FDA’s project called “Promoting Quality Medicines Plus,” which aims to raise awareness about the existence of counterfeit and substandard medicines in the market, as well as the potential dangers of using such medications.

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The sensitization program also introduced the public to “The Med Safety App,” a newly developed tool by the FDA. This app is designed to allow individuals to report any adverse reactions to medicines directly to the FDA or healthcare professionals for prompt action. Additionally, the app provides information about prescribed medicines, helping users make informed decisions before purchasing them.

Mr. Okai noted that many Ghanaians often overlook important details on medicine packaging, such as expiry dates, certifications, and quality standards. This oversight has led to many unwittingly purchasing counterfeit and substandard medicines, resulting in adverse health effects.

He emphasized the dangers of using falsified and substandard medicines, stating that they could lead to fatal consequences. He urged the public to promptly report any adverse reactions to medicines to the FDA and healthcare providers for assistance.

Mr. Okai issued a stern warning to those involved in the sale of counterfeit and substandard medicines, urging them to cease such activities. He stated that the FDA would intensify its surveillance efforts to crack down on these activities, and offenders would face legal consequences.

Ms. Linda Eyram Mensah, an Information Officer with the FDA’s Communications Department, highlighted the severe impact of using counterfeit medicines on patients’ health and well-being. She advised the public to purchase medicines only from certified sellers and FDA-approved sources.

Mr. Abel Ndego, the Upper East Regional Principal Regulatory Officer of the FDA, explained that the FDA had been conducting extensive market surveillance across the 15 municipalities and districts in the region to ensure that counterfeit and substandard medicines were no longer available. He mentioned that the FDA, in collaboration with law enforcement agencies, had successfully apprehended and prosecuted some individuals involved in this illicit trade.

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“Currently, we have officers stationed at the legitimate entry points of the borders to inspect every consignment coming into the country to ensure that any food and drug related products that are entering the country through our region meet the regulatory standards,” he said.

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