Advertise unapproved products and spend 15 years in jail – FDA

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has called on advertisers and media outlets to be mindful of advertising unapproved FDA regulated products or spend a minimum jail sentence of 15 years and maximum of 25 years.

Mr James Lartey, Head of Communications and Public Education at the FDA, said the Authority has observed that many media outlets in the country, especially the electronic media, were running adverts on certain FDA regulated products, yet those adverts have not received approval from the FDA.

He said “when you look at the Food and Drugs Law, that is, the Public Health Act, Act 851, it is very clear that you cannot import, export, manufacture or sell any of the products that FDA regulates unless the product has been registered with the FDA.

“Again, the law says that you cannot advertise for any of the products that the FDA regulates unless the advertisement has being given approval by the FDA. So, the fact that you have the product registered by the FDA does not mean you have the right to advertise the product.”

The Head of Communications and Public Education, who said this at a media sensitization meeting in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional Capital, explained that the fifth schedule of the Public Health Act prohibits the advertisements for the treatment, prevention or cure of certain diseases, and yet people disregard the law.

He said some of the diseases include as Sexually Transmitted Diseases, other forms of genitor-urinary disease, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), diseases connected to the human reproductive functions, diseases of the reproductive organ, sexual impotence among others.

He expressed worry at the attitudes of some advertisers and media outlets to alter approved adverts adding that per the Act, the punishment for any person who flouts the regulation would be given a minimum jail sentence of 15 years and maximum of 25 years.

“Kindly be advised that persons who contravene these provisions would be liable to a summary conviction and or a fine not less than 7500 penalty units. Alternatively, the FDA may impose an administrative fine of GH¢25,000.00 pursuant to the provisions of the fees and charges.” Mr Lartey indicated.

Although, he acknowledged the fact that media outlets depended heavily on advertisement to survive, it should not be the basis to sacrifice public health to break the law.

He said the Authority is working with the Judicial Service to set aside a separate court to expeditiously deal with cases that concerned public health and safety.

Source: GNA

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