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Media houses, drug manufacturers face prosecution

A number of media houses and product owners, who are alleged to have flouted the country’s law on public health through the advertisement of drugs they claim to cure or prevent some manageable diseases, are to be prosecuted.

The Public Health Act 851(5) prohibits advertisement of drugs for the treatment, prevention and cure for HIV/AIDs, diabetes, typhoid, infertility, kidney stones and kidney failure, mental disorder, cancer, sexual transmitted diseases among.

But the Food and Drugs Authority says it has secured recordings of such advertisement by some product owners in the media and has forwarded same to the Police which have commenced investigations into the matter.

“These are the diseases [that] you can’t advertise and when you advertise, you go against the law,” Head of Communications and Public Education at the FDA, James Lartey, said at a news conference in Kumasi Wednesday.

He said doctors have been mandated to prescribe medicines and offer advice to patients suffering from those diseases, noting “when people advertise, they force you to take some things and you might not be advised to take….the law is saying that these diseases cannot be advertised”.

He explained further “you may have brought that product to FDA for registration to cure a particular disease; you may have received approval but the law says that you cannot advertise [it]”.

“Already, we are taking action on this…we have recorded some [radio/tv] stations that have advertised on these diseases. We have forwarded the recorded version to the police headquarters and have started investigations on it,” he revealed.

Mr. Lartey said once investigations were over, prosecution of liable persons would be prosecuted.

He said majority of the affected radio and television stations are based in Accra while some are also in other regions.

He indicated that the FDA has had several meetings with media houses, advertising associations and the product owners in connection with the law and wondered why they are still flouting it.

Mr. Lartey again disclosed some of media houses have also flouted the restricted time of airing alcoholic advertisement, noting recordings of such adverts have been done and sent to the police headquarters.

He indicated that letters asking the media houses to pay an administrative fine of GH¢25,000 for flouting on the directive have been sent to them, adding that default by the media houses to pay the fine will force the FDA to give the police the go ahead to take up the case.

By Antwi Boasiako||Ghana

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