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Courts orders FDA to investigate channels of fake drugs

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drugs-2A Circuit Court in Accra has ordered the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) to extend its investigations on all boarders to get to the source of importing consignments of counterfeit Tres-Orix Fote drugs and others onto Ghana’s market.

Mr. Francis Obiri, the judge noted that importing fake drugs was a serious offence like robbery hence the need to get to the roots of the sources of fake drugs on the market. According to the court that  would be the safe way of protecting the public.

According to him, most people were not aware of the original and fake drugs currently on the market, adding the fake ones would be doing more harm than good.

He further ordered the FDA to apprehend individuals who had appended their signatures on receipts of the fake drug, Tres-Orix Fote.

The court gave the order when a 52-year old businesswoman, Rita Fordjour was put before it on Thursday on the charges of importation of drugs without permit, deception of consumers with counterfeit drugs.

The accused person is being held for importing 481 boxes of Tres-Orix Forte drugs valued at GH¢102,215 cedis believed to be fake.

Rita pleaded not guilty to the charges and the court admitted her to bail in the sum of GHc50,000 cedis with three sureties one to be a public servant.

She is to deposit her passport with the Court’s registry and report to the Police every fortnight.

According to the court the accused person had been in custody of the FDA for more than 48 hours and bail should not be used a basis of punishment.

The matter was adjourned to March 5.

Her counsel Mr. George Asamani earlier prayed the court to admit his client to bail, saying at the right time she would prove her innocence.

According Mr. Asamani, Rita could not distinguish between the fake and the original drugs because she was only introduced by one Nigerian into the said business.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Abraham A. Annor declined to the bail, saying there were several other drugs that the officials had found in the accused person’s possession which they would be investigating.

The facts of the prosecution were that, accused person resides at Koforidua in the Eastern Region. In recent times the FDA had been receiving various complaints from the public about the flooding of fake drugs on the Ghanaian markets.

Based on that, prosecution began monitoring and during the last quarter of last year, the FDA gathered intelligence, which suggested that a consignment of counterfeit Tres-Orix Forte, a vitamin boosting drug, which was originally a product of KAMA Group of Industries, were being imported to Ghana from China.

Prosecution said undercover agents commenced work and found out the accused person was among the syndicate who were engaged in smuggling of the counterfeit medicines and she had imported 481 cartons of Tres-Orix Forte for distribution.

On February 18, this year, operatives of FDA with the assistance of the National Security  managed to arrest the accused person at Haatso, near Madina where she was to dispatch the drugs to the Ashanti and Northern regions and even beyond.

The operatives managed to retrieve 481 cartons with market value of GHc102, 215.50 cedis.

DSP Annor said in Rita’s investigation cautioned statement, she denied importing the drugs but indicated that it was a Nigerian by name Oke Chuku at Okaishie who gave them to her.

However, DSP Annor noted that import documents retrieved from her room in Koforidua indicated that she bought them from a company in China and not in Ghana.

Further investigation led to the retrieval of import document of vermox, zental albendazole, and panadol among others.

Source: GNA

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