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21.05.2007 Health

Official raises concern over fake drugs on the market

Mr Eric Owusu, representative of the Volta/Eastern Zonal Office of the Food and Drugs Board (FDB), on Friday said the manufacturing, distribution and selling of counterfeit medicines or fake drugs had assumed a global trend with debilitating health hazards on clients.

He said the phenomenon had led to the erosion of trust in consumers of medical products who have resorted to other sources for medication with health risks and sometimes deaths.

Mr Owusu was addressing a Pharmacy Council Training Programme for Licensed Chemical Sellers and their shop assistants in the Kadjebi, Jasikan and Hohoe districts at Hohoe.

It is to expose members to the new trends and the Pharmacy Council, in collaboration with FDB, organized it.

Mr Owusu appealed to chemical sellers to strictly buy their drugs from approved and licensed business sources in order to track or identify such sources.
He urged them to inform FDB about any suspicious products and characters to address the medicine-counterfeiting saga.

Mr Owusu said pharmaceutical counterfeited drugs were routed mostly through the country's eastern, western and northern frontiers with Togo, Cote d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso.

Mr George Awunyo, the Chairman of the Volta Region branch of the Ghana National Chemical Sellers Association (GNCSA), appealed to the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Pharmacy Council to step up orientation programmes for members through seminars and examinations towards upgrading their knowledge to qualify them to dispense some of the Class 'B' drugs.

He said given the approval to dispense some Class 'B' drugs with carefulness over the counter in rural and remote areas, in the absence of a qualified pharmacists, would bring some respite to clients in those areas rather than the restriction on the dispensation of only Class 'C' drugs.

Mr Awunyo appealed to the government, MOH and the Pharmacy Council to improve the conditions of service of pharmacists in order that they accepted posting to the rural and deprived areas.