Ghana seeks $5m refund over supply of 130 million fake condoms
A seven-member committee set up in May this year to look into the circumstances that led to the importation and distribution of sub-standard condoms in Ghana has submitted its report to the Ministry of Health.
The Committee, which was chaired by Professor Alex Dodoo, a Pharmacist and Associate Professor in Clinical Pharmacology, recommended to the Ministry to seek a full refund from suppliers of the 130 million pieces of condoms worth about $5 million.
It also recommended that the supplier bore the full responsibility for proper disposal of the condoms.
He described the processes and standards that led to the procurement of the sub-standard condoms as faulty and weak, and urged the Attorney General’s Department to prosecute the culprits if the law found them guilty.
“Basically, from the procurement side, we had issues but the main implications are that health-wise anyone who has used any of the condoms may have had unsafe sex,” the committee chairman said.
He expressed concern about the fact that the money used for the purchase was obtained from Global Fund and that, he said, had caused a serious dent on the integrity of the country. “Even the origin of these condoms could not be traced”, he added.
The bid for the supply was won by a Ghanaian company but had a foreign company as the supplier.
The Committee blamed the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) for imposing a relatively weaker regulatory regime on the public sector, leading to the importation of unregistered products.
It urged the Ministry to provide the necessary financial, technical and logistical support to the FDA to enable it to undertake rigorous pre and post-market surveillance of all procured condoms and other health-related commodities in the country.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ghana, Ms Ruby Sandhu-Rojon said “The implications are that there are issues of checks and balances in terms of quality assurance, in terms of procurement processes, in terms of deficiencies across the whole system. So I think there are very key ramifications that the Ministry of Health and others will have to address”.
The Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Ayittey expressed concern about the poor supervision in the importation of the fake condoms, saying the situation had dented Ghana’s image, and promised to implement the committee’s recommendations to the latter.
“We will ensure that if we will have to go to an international court to get our money we shall go back on an international tender and get another supplier,” she said after receiving the report formally on behalf of the Ministry.