Mr. James Lartey, Head of Communications, FDA observed that such advertisement done especially during ‘Live Presenter Mention’ (LPM) was on the increase in various airwaves across the county despite several calls to stop the practice.
Describing the situation as a source of worry to the Authority, he called on radio presenters to ensure that drugs brought for advertisement had the approval from the FDA before they were aired, warning that such offences attracted a minimum of 10 years and maximum of 25 years imprisonment.
Mr. Lartey gave the warning at a Public and Media Interaction organized by the Authority in Cape Coast on Tuesday to sensitize stakeholders, a cross section of the public and members of the media in the Central Region on fake and unapproved drugs and related issues.
The threat to cause the arrest of radio presenters did not go down well with some members of the media who took turns, during the open forum session, to defend their colleagues, explaining that it was rather the stations that had to be sued.
This, they said, was because advertisements were screened and approved by the administration before they were given to the presenters to read on air as LPM.
The argument dragged on for about 15 minutes until Mr. Lartey indicated that the FDA would on August 31st meet the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association, Ghana Journalists Association, Adverting Association of Ghana, the Police and other stakeholders to deliberate on the matter.
He called on the general public to assist the FDA to clamp down on the sale of unapproved drugs.
Mr. Kingsley Nsiah-Poku, the Central Regional Director of the Authority said the FDA was by Law mandated to ensure the safety, efficacy and quality of all food and drugs.
He refuted claims that the Authority had relaxed on its mandate on preventing the sale of unapproved drugs and food, stating that there were about 50 unapproved routes into the country coupled with issues of free port among others.
He urged the public to be extra vigilant since some chemical shops were still selling some of the six aphrodisiacs the Authority revoked marketing authorization for their sale permits last month.
These drugs, Mr Nsiah-Poku said, included Rock man Capsules, Angel, natural Capsules, Tinattet “Be4 Be4”, Adom Gentleman Power Capsules, Laud P Capsules Mars for Men, warning that owners of shops where such drugs were found would be dealt with.
Mr Peter Akwasi Agyeman- Duah, the acting Deputy Chief Director in-charge of Monitoring and Evaluation of FDA, indicated that the forum was organized as a result of the upsurge of fake products on the Ghanaian market.
He described the situation as a “Big Battle” for the Authority, which required back up from the general public in order to win or at least manage the menace.
He said the Authority was enforcing a number of mechanisms such as insisting on registration of products, post market surveillance, advertisement control, to check the situation, adding that, the Authority would not rest on its oars.
Some participants expressed concern about the sale of unapproved drugs at the various information dissemination centers, but the FDA said it had plans to address the situation permanently.