THE Western regional branch of the Ghana National Association of Chemical Sellers (GNACS) has declared its intention to wage a relentless war on drug peddling in the region.
According to the association, the practice of drug peddling has in the past dented the image of their business and continues to pose a threat to the lives of many Ghanaians, particularly the rural poor.
In a statement issued in Takoradi and signed by the General Secretary, Mr. Yaw Ofosu Hene, the association declared its intention to collaborate with the Ghana police service, Food and Drugs Board, The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Pharmacy Council and all district assemblies in the region to join forces to effectively nip in the bud the bad practices of drug peddling in the region.
According to the association, research conducted by their members has shown that many Ghanaians were spending millions of cedis annually on the treatment of complications they suffer as a result of the use of non- prescribed medications purchased from drug peddlers.
These complications, according to the association, were caused by people who engaged in drug peddling in the region. They noted that “because drug peddlers are not properly trained, they do not know the right indications, dosages, contra indications, side effects of drug and drug interactions.”
They again pointed out that drug peddlers were usually engaged in the sale of cheap drugs, usually smuggled into the country without any company's name or registration. “Because these drugs have not been certified by FDB, they usually bear wrong labelling with wrong expiry dates” the association revealed.
They blamed the drug peddlers for using deceit as a marketing strategy to sell their drugs “These charlatans most often mention a whole lot of uses for one drug, which is usually not true. Though these claims are false, the profit making intent of the drug peddler supersedes the importance of the health of the consumer, as a result, most consumers develop complications from drugs they buy from these charlatans,” they cautioned.
The association said after developing such complications, it would have to take the good people of Ghana to spend more money at the hospitals to rectify these complications. They further noted that members of the National Health Insurance Scheme NHIS have also begun increasing the burden on the budget of the health insurance authority because of the consequences of these menace.
The chemical sellers argued strongly that the drug peddlers, knowing the illegality of their business do not pay tax to the revenue agencies, either at the district level or any revenue mobilization agency, which in their view was causing the nation huge sums of revenue losses, either directly or indirectly.
They noted that in 1992, the Food and drugs law (PNDC LAW 305 B) was passed to establish the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) to regulate the manufacture and distribution of drugs in the country and in 1994, the pharmacy Act (Act 489) was also passed to establish the pharmacy council to regulate the practice of pharmacy profession.
They expressed regret that several attempts made by the FDB and the pharmacy council to fight these drugs peddler have not been successful.
In the light of this, they said it was necessary for the good people of Ghana to join forces with them to collectively wage unending war on the peddlers with the involvement of all stakeholders.
They also appealed to government to expedite action by prosecuting offenders who would fall foul of the law, especially those who would be caught in drug peddling or engaged in the sale of counterfeit drugs, whether at registered premises or not. The association has also charged all Ghanaians to report wrong dowers to the police.