By Cecil Mensah
The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) in partnership Mpedigree and PopOut, has launched an initiative dubbed, Prevent to help fight the circulation and marketing of fake and counterfeit drugs in the country.
According to the Society, the initiative will assist patients to scratch a panel on drugs prescribed to them and send the code by a Short Message Service (SMS) to 1393 to verify the authenticity of the prescribed drug.
Speaking at the launch in Accra attended by representatives of Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Association of Ghana (PMAG), Mr James Ohemeng Kyei; the President of Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) said, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says West Africa, has become the target of range of counterfeit medicines including antibiotics, anti-malarial, anti-retroviral and anti-tuberculosis.
Thousands of death has resulted from fake drugs as well as the increasing the burden of disease in the sub-region.
Fake malarial medications have threatened the efforts targeted at the control of the disease he explained.
He said, in tackling the scourge of counterfeit drugs in Ghana, the PSGH engaged the services of two technological partners to implement a system of anti-counterfeiting strategy called “Prevent” meaning Patient, Research, Empowerment, Vigilance and Education.
He noted that as a result of the partnership with the two companies, a growing number of medicines made and marketed by members of the Society have been coded with unique identities to check fake drugs in the system.
He added that it was the expectation of the Society and its partners that over the next three years, one million Ghanaians will be able to improve their confidence in the quality of medicines sold in the country.
He explained that it was the commitment of the society to ensure the safety of patients by collaborating with critical government regulatory bodies, civil society organizations and the private sector to step up actions and ensure a comprehensive response to the challenges confronting the nation and the pharmacy sector.
Mr Peter Arhin, Director at the Ministry of Health in- Charge of Traditional Medicine and Alternative Medicine, speaking on behalf of the Health Minister, said the Government is working to implement measures that will secure the supply chain of medicines in the country.
He indicated that the Government will step up its surveillance on counterfeit medicines because the health of the one million peoples who use drugs to cure disease.
He said counterfeit drugs is a threat to the people that use drugs to cure disease in the Sub -Region ad steps are being made to strengthen FDA to take centre stage in checking these drugs.