Dr. Opuni Warns Food & Drugs Companies

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Just Do The Right Thing and Be Free

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), has given assurance that the Authority will spare no effort to secure the health, safety and lives of Ghanaians, and warned that companies going contrary to the laws, would be clampdown heavily.

The FDA law spelled out a 15-years jail term for any person caught flouting it, either by producing, importing or distributing fake, unwholesome or unregistered medicines and food in Ghana. That law is yet to be tested. But in a country like China, most offenders are hanged to death after criminal trial. A case in point is the producers of contaminated baby milk, few years ago.

According to Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni, in as much as the FDA is committed to help grow food and drugs businesses in the country, especially indigenous ones, the health and safety of Ghanaians will not be compromised in anyway, adding, the companies must conduct genuine businesses and
be free.

Without mentioning any particular company, the FDA boss last Wednesday told “The Herald” that their mandate is a very delicate one with human health and safety at stake, hence neither fear nor favour will be entertained in discharging that responsibility.

Dr. Opuni, is leading a team of Food and Drugs experts, who are receiving commendations from even the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the best in sub-Saharan Africa. Ghana’s FDA, which until 2009 was very dormant, has also now become a reference center for countries such as Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia and Senegal.

“We will continue to do whatever it takes to carry out our mandate and responsibility of protecting public health and safety, by ensuring that both food and medicines produced on commercial basis is always wholesome and efficacious”, Dr. Opuni asserted.

In this regard, “we will also continue to help our stakeholders in the food and pharmaceutical industry, who import medicines and those who manufacture medicines in Ghana, to do genuine business by giving them all the necessary support needed to do that.”

However, “if anybody thinks that he will bring sub-standard medicines, we will not register them if the quality, efficacy and the safety of those medicines cannot be guaranteed, we will crash any such medicine we find on the market. We will have to take them and destroy them”, the FDA boss warmed.

“I don’t want to talk about any particular company; I am saying that we are going to support anyone. Be it a local company or a cottage industry and the big ones. Whatever it takes for us to support them to do genuine businesses, we will do it”, Dr. Opuni stressed.

He, however, warned that the Authority would not kowtow to anybody’s whims and caprices, adding if anybody is caught flouting the law, “the culprit will be dealt with by the law”.

Dr. Opuni was speaking in the wake of their seizure of some unwholesome products, including Hit Man Condoms, imported by a well-respected company in the pharmaceutical industry, called Tobinco.

The company had it tough with officials of the Authority, who vowed that they will ensure that the right things were done. The products, numbering over a hundred, including an anti-malaria medicine for children called G-Sunate Suppositories, were seized for destruction.

The importer and the Indian manufacturer Bliss GVS Pharma Limited, has been bonded not to flood Ghana with fake products again.

Dr. Opuni said that the FDA was committed to providing training for its stakeholders and disclosed that the FDA’s new ultra-modern office complex in Accra, has a training facility all for its stakeholders. He said, periodically some company officials are taken through training sessions to be abreast with happenings relating to their field of work.

The FDA, he said would continue to intensify its Post Market Surveillance activities to fight pharmaceutical crimes and substandard products from the market to protect the public health.

The FDA boss, was grateful to the public who voluntarily give information, which he said usually leads to incredible results.

“The public campaign that we constantly do, helps us to get information from the public. The public has confidence in us, because they know that whatever information they pass on to us concerning unwholesome medicine and food, we always take action”.

“We have intensified our Post Markets Surveillance activities. “This is what has helped us in the past and we would continue to use to combat pharmaceutical crime.

We will continue to educate those in the pharmaceutical industries to learn to do the right thing. That is why we are building capacities; we are investing so much to train our staff and will also in future help train the staff of the pharmaceutical companies”, he concluded

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