Unregulated adverts of medicines and treatments causing deaths – GMA

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has expressed concern about the escalation of unregulated advertisements of medicines and treatment of diseases and media and commercial settings.

It has attributed it to the numerous deaths among patients.

According to the GMA, most of these advertisements were often obnoxious and misleading, succeeding in luring patients into using them to cause further health complications and even death, because they are presented too late to the hospitals.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Dr Emmanuel Ewusi-Emmim, the President of Ghana Medical Association, at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, to voice out the GMA’s concerns, said complaints had been received from its membership across the country on the negative effects of these unproven treatments, especially herbal treatments.

It argued that some of these unregulated adverts were purely motivated by profits, and had no interest of the well-being of the people at heart, stressing that the claims by these unscrupulous individuals were causing great harm to patients and thereby increasing morbidity and mortality rates.

He cited the growing instances where patients who had bone fractures, had to lose their limbs or other body parts through amputation because of the negative effects caused by herbal splinting and late reporting of these cases to the hospitals.

He called for strengthened stakeholder collaboration, particularly with the media, to enhance public education, advocacy, and also push the mandated state institutions including the Food and Drugs Authority, to enforce the legislations that prohibit advertisements of unproven treatment, prevention, and cure remedies for very serious ailments that threatened the health and safety of Ghanaians and patients, in gross breach of the laws of the country.

He said “a typical example of such obnoxious and misleading advertisements was in one of the leading newspapers where it is stated that a massage parlour is offering treatment for cancer of the breast, brain, liver, kidneys, lungs, prostrate among others”, in clear breach of the Public Health Act 2012 (Act 851).

DCOP Dr Ewusi-Emmim said Section 113 of the Public Health Act 2012 (Act 851), with the caption “Deception of Consumers”, stated among other things that it was an offense for anyone to label, package, sell and advertise a drug, herbal medicine, cosmetics, medical devices or household chemical substances, in a manner that was misleading or misbranded as regarded its character, constitution, value, potency, quality, composition, merits or safety.

Moreover, Section 114 of the same Act, also prohibited advertisements of such products as well as treatment, preventive or cure for diseases, disorders or abnormal physical state, unless the adverts had been approved by the appropriate Authority, he said.

The Fifth Section of the Public Health Act, he said, stated that diseases for which advertisements for treatment, prevention or cure were prohibited included sexually transmitted diseases, other forms of genito-urinary diseases, AIDS or any illness connected with the human reproductive functions.

The GMA he explained was not against herbal practices, but was concerned about the unregulated manner in which the laws were being violated, threatening the health and safety of Ghanaians.

He therefore urged the public to report all illnesses to authorised health facilities for appropriate treatment to avoid complications and fatalities.

Source: GNA

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