From the beginning of the third quarter, the Food & Drugs Authority (FDA) will deploy a mobile phone application to help with the verification of registered products, particularly medicines on the market.
The new mobile phone app, which is currently being developed, when completed will afford the public the platform to check if a product is registered with the FDA or not before purchasing or consuming it.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the FDA, Delese Mimi Darko, who announced this, mentioned that the new application is an addition to the already existing mechanism for detecting fake products on the market.
“We have our own reporting channels but we think that is not enough, so by the third quarter of the year we will be fitting in a technology which will run as an app on mobile phones so when you pick up your phone and any product you can check whether it is registered or not and we will be able to get back to you,” she hinted.
Mrs Darko said verification of product quality, which can be assured through the registration process, is the major problem associated with fake medicine and substandard medicine on the markets.
“Before you buy a product make sure it is registered and for us the registration assures the quality of the product so if a consumer picks up any product we regulate they can immediately get to us and find out whether the products is good,” she advised.
She was speaking with the media after the opening ceremony of a five-day workshop on pharmaceutical crime investigations and intelligence.
The workshop brought together representatives of the Ghana Police Service, BNI, Customs Division, Narcotics Control Board, UK Department for International Development, selected members of the media and staff of the FDA to strategies and learn from one another, as well as identify any shortcomings in the process of combating pharmaceutical crime.
Mrs Darko added that threat of falsified medicine to public health is real; accounting for large number of deaths globally, especially in low and middle income countries.
“Production and trafficking of fake medicine is a multi-billion illegal business which is sustained largely by the lure of high financial gains combines with the perceived low risk of detection,” the FDA CEO said.
She disclosed that the FDA, through its market surveillance activities nationwide, has detected the distribution of falsified versions of anthelmintics, dewormers, anti-malarials, antibiotics, analgesics, codeine containing cough mixtures and controlled substances like Tramadol and diazepam mostly from the Far East countries and large quantities of aphrodisiacs with unknown content and undetermined origin.
Mrs Darko explained that large amounts of those fake medicines have been confiscated, with the peddlers arrested.
She reiterated her call for the public to be very cautious when purchasing drugs not registered by the FDA, as they may have dire health consequences.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri