By Patrick Biddah
The enterprise effort by the Ghana Diabetes Association to apprehend an importer of fake diabetes drugs seems be turning out to be wasted move as the Police and the Food and Drugs Authority ( FDA) who are supposed to take the next line of action are dragging their feet.
Since November 2021, when a dispatch rider for the importer was lured by the association by ordering to purchase the drug online and arrested him when he showed up and who eventually helped to arrest the importer , the suspect has not been prosecuted by the Police.
The FDA who are to make a pronouncement on the authenticity of the drug and the violation of the FDA laws have been quiet on the matter.
The Korle Bu Police, who detained the suspect and subsequently granted bail have had little to do except to say they are still investigating the case.
The Ghana Diabetes Association , who are making the claims against the Police and FDA ,explains that two diabetes drugs with the names INSUMED and DIANOL have been imported into the country and are being sold online to unsuspecting patients when such drugs have not been approved and can say they are fake.
Giving further details at a press conference at the Ministry of Health in Accra on Wednesday this week , the President of the Ghana Diabetes Association, Mrs. Elizabeth Esi Denyoh, revealed that the importers of these drugs have deliberately used the official mobile numbers of the association to advertise for the drugs ostensibly to deceive the public into giving them credibility .
She therefore dissociated itself from the drugs, saying “ we have nothing to do with its importation and sales in Ghana. We cannot guarantee its efficacy as the information on the product package appears suspicious”, she noted.
Disturbed by thus development, Mrs. Denyoh, indicated how victims of the fake drugs have reported reactions such as vomiting, dizziness and abdominal pains after taking these drugs.
The situation, according to her may get worst if the Police and FDA do not ensure that the drugs are stopped from being sold online in view of the reactions patients who have already purchased have reported.
“ The past two months, I received several calls of 50 to 70 on a daily basis on the numbers 0246084491 and 026621055.Callers claim anytime they search for medication INSUMED online , the Diabetes Association .The said numbers are the official numbers of the Diabetes Association. Callers were either enquiring about the Diabetes medication, which can only be purchased online through social media or have purchased already and needed dosage instructions as the leaflet enclosed was not in English .Others were also calling because they have reacted to the medication “, she narrated.
As it stands, the FDA which is the regulatory body of all drugs appears to be reluctant in making a determination on the importation of this alien diabetes drugs.
The Korle Bu Police accordingly have not prosecuted the importer which has sent the Diabetes Association into a wild guess of what could be happening.
“ When we even arrested the importer and seized the regimen of drugs the FDA told us it didn’t have a storage facility. We had to get the drugs to a place to store by ourselves “, she noted.
The said importer of the suspected fake drugs is said to be a young woman living at Ashaley Botwe, who got the drugs from Bulgaria.
The association has, therefore warned the general public to desist from purchasing such drugs online since it cannot vouch for it and the FDA too has till date not made a determination.