FDA to clamp down on media over promotion of unapproved medicines
The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has threatened to sanction media houses that promote unapproved medicines as part of measures to ensure public health and safety.
Pursuant to Section 129 of Act 85, “person who contravenes were liable to summary conviction or a fine not less than 7500 penalty units and not more than 15 years and not more than 25 years imprisonment or both.”
The Head of Communications of the authority, Mrs Rhoda Appiah disclosed this following the exposé on ‘MACOFA’ Herbal drug by the Fourth Estate on Dangerous endorsements on herbal medicines by some media houses.
She said the FDA was determined to promote public health safety at all times, adding that there were administrative charges and legal sanctions for any media institution that promotes such organisations.
Mrs Appiah stated that the public, especially the media, should be reminded that section 100 and 144 of the Public Health Act, 2012, Act 851 and the FDA guidelines for advertisement of regulated products prohibit any unapproved advertisement of FDA-regulated products as a preventive drug for disease, disorder, or abnormal physical state.
In addition, any drug advertisement for treatment, prevention or cure of disease listed in the fifth schedule of Act 851, such as sexually transmitted diseases, cancer, hypertension, sexual importance, among others were also prohibited under the Act.
She said to reduce such practices and ensure compliance, the FDA had held meetings with marketing executives of media institutions while it would monitor both the print and electronic media stations to have evidence against them for sanctioning.
Mrs Appiah urged media practitioners and celebrities not to endorse or advertise products without clearance from the FDA, adding that their outfit has an open door policy and was always available to assist in letting them know of the approved medicines.
The Head of Communications stated that since 2012, some media houses were sanctioned for such practices, as such the FDA was determined to partner stakeholders to ensure consumers’ health was prioritised.
It would be recalled in the Ghanaian Times’ September 22, 2023 issue that a public forum on ‘Media and Herbal Medicine Advertising’ was organised in Accra following an exposé by the Fourth Estate, an investigative project of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), a non-governmental organisation.
In that exposé, now on social media, issues raised had to do with the gate-keeping role of media houses regarding the advertisments of herbal medicines.
Then supposed officials of Krodwewa Herbal Centre decided to advertise their fake product, obviously for patronage.
It was sad to hear that out of eight leading media houses in four regions across the country approached to promote the fake and actually non-existent herbal product, only two took due steps to ensure its authenticity.
She congratulated media houses which did not advertise the said product, adding that “Krodwewa Herbal Centre could not respond to their demand for evidence of FDA approval of the product.”