FDA trains staff to detect fake products

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has identified ignorance on the part of consumers as one of the constraints to the fight against counterfeit food and medical products in the country.

It noted that not knowing the dangers of using sub-standard, spurious, falsified, falsely-labelled counterfeit (SSFFC) products, consumers highly patronised those products.

The Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Mr Hudu Mogtari, who expressed the concern, said consumers, therefore, needed intensive education about counterfeit medical products and unwholesome food substances.

Training programme
Mr Mogtari was speaking at the opening ceremony of a capacity-building programme organised by the FDA for its staff to enable them to detect counterfeit food and medical products.

The programme, which was on the topic “Intelligence gathering and analysis on fake and substandard food and medical products,” formed part of measures being taken by the authority to reduce the menace of counterfeit and substandard food and medical products in the country.

The programme was sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Capacity Development Mechanism Secretariat of the Ministry of Finance.

Mr Mogtari described the programme as timely and crucial in equipping the staff of the FDA with the needed skills and knowledge for the task, since counterfeiters had upgraded their skills and activities, making detection very difficult.

He announced that the FDA, in the course of the year, would acquire modern devices for on-the-spot checks and detection of counterfeit products.

Effects of fake products
Fake drugs have significant negative effects on human health which sometimes lead to death. It also has an impact on the national economy, as well as on pharmaceutical companies, since they lose part of their profits to the unfair competition from counterfeit activities. 

“Today, all kinds of food and medical products have been counterfeited. Counterfeit drugs range from medicines for the treatment of life-threatening conditions to inexpensive generic versions of painkillers and antihistamines,” Mr Mogtari stated.

Outlining some of the challenges in the quest to rid the country of counterfeit food and drugs, Mr Mogtari said the use of unapproved entry points and cross-border trade in medical products served as the conduit for fake and substandard medical products.

He said the sale of medicines at unapproved premises and the peddling of medicines had become channels for the distribution of SSFFC medicine.

FDA mandate
Notwithstanding these challenges, Mr Mogtari said the FDA would continue to execute its mandate of ensuring safe food and medical products for the public.

A Consultant from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) of the United Kingdom, Mr Gift Minta, said the problem of counterfeiting had become a global issue which could not be eradicated but reduced.

He, therefore, called on all Ghanaians to join hands with the authority to help fight against SSFFC products which threatened human health.

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