Executive Secretary of the Pharmaceutical Importers and Wholesalers Association (PIWA) Joe Fiifi Yamoah, has refuted claims circulating in the media that 30% of imported pharmaceutical drugs in the country are fake and substandard on the market.
He said such claims are devoid of facts and are not backed by any reliable research and data. He has therefore entreated the general public to jettison such claims.
Mr Yamoah pointed out that there are credible state institutions like the Food and Drugs Authority(FDA) that are internationally recognized to oversee the importation of wholesome medicines and drugs into the country. And since the FDA has not made any such discovery in the country, it is sad for anybody to come out with such false claims.
He however, acknowledged that there are some challenges facing his outfit such as the porous nature of the country’s borders which serves as conduits for some unscrupulous persons to smuggle some drugs into the country but that cannot amount to even 1% on the market.
Mr Yamoah was reacting on the back of the reports that 30% of imported medicines on the market are fake, in an interview with Komla Adom on the Mid Day news on TV3, Thursday, June 24.
He said “from where I sit as the executive secretary for importers and wholesalers, of course I can’t deny the fact that there are a few challenges facing our sector. However, these challenges have to do with the porous nature of our borders so one can say that people smuggle a few items across our borders but that cannot amount to 30% of medicines on the market. In any case, what evidence or research has gone into this? Has the so-called group tested medicines to inform what went into the statement? Do they have data to back what they are saying? Certainly it’s not true”.
Mr Yamoah pointed out the important role the importers played when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, saying it is sad for anybody to come out with such porous claims to downplay the efforts of his outfit in the country over the years. The association, of which the majority of its members are qualified pharmacists.
He underscored the point that no qualified pharmacist will buy and sell fake and substandard drugs in their pharmacy.
“The pharma sector is one of the most heavily regulated anywhere in the world, especially Ghana. You can’t just buy anything and stock, before the FDA even certifies a drug to be used or sold on the market, you must have sent samples to the FDA. For them to take to the lab, go through the process to ensure that it meets the standard stated on the pack. Sometimes they even travel outside the country to go and check where you are importing from. So all these processes are done behind the scenes before an import licence is issued to you, so you cannot just bring any medicine onto the shelf for sale, it doesn’t work like that in Ghana”, he declared.
By Barima Kwabena Yeboah|3news.com|Ghana