General News of Sunday, 10 March 2013
The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has uncovered widespread fraud by three giant Ghanaian pharmaceutical companies that has put the lives of millions at risk of real fatality.
The three companies - including Lymens Medical Supplies Limited and Sarkuff Pharmacy - are alleged to have fraudulently imported unregistered, fake and substandard medicines.
The FDA found that these “dangerous drugs” have already been supplied to hospitals and pharmacy shops across the country for use.
The authority has in a massive nationwide operation seized large quantities of the medicines.
The alarming part of the FDA report noted that the fake, substandard and contaminated imported Oxytocin and Ergometrine injections when given to women will fail to control bleeding after child delivery and could result in death.
The FDA said Lymens Medical Limited supplied unregistered, substandard and contaminated Oxytocin-Lytocin injections to regional medical stores and hospitals in Greater Accra, Volta, Eastern, Ashanti and Western Regions.
The substandard and contaminated Oxytocin injections according to the FDA were manufactured in China by companies with no addresses.
The owner of Lymens Medical Supplies Limited has failed to provide the addresses of these companies to the FDA while efforts by the FDA to get the addresses of these companies yielded no results raising the suspicion of the non-existence of the said companies.
A third company is said to have registered Ergometrine injection from Ciron Drugs in India with the FDA, however samples of the product purchased from hospitals countrywide were found to be substandard as they contained no active pharmaceutical ingredients.
The company has also supplied unregistered and substandard Oxytocin injection manufactured in China by Anhui Medihel Company Limited to hospitals and other health facilities throughout the country.
Sarkuff Pharmacy on the other hand, supplied fake Oxytocin, Ergometrine and quinine injections to the Saltpond Government Hospital and other pharmacies.
The medicines were manufactured in India, Pakistan and China for pharmacies in Nigeria with addresses like Onitsha and Agege Motor Road.
Sarkuff Pharmacy claimed that the drugs were bought from Nigerian drug peddlers at Okaishie in the Central business district of Accra.
The three companies are assisting the FDA and the police in further investigations, while hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and the general public are hereby being advised to be careful when purchasing medicines from these companies.
Issaka Collison Kofi of FDA’s Drug Inspectorate Unit told Joy News, these products are very dangerous “because we are talking of Uterotonics and Antibiotics. When you talk of Uterotonics, they are used to control bleeding after birth so you can imagine if what we have on the market are substandard,” then the country’s quest to fight and reduce maternal mortality is at risk.
The antibiotics, he noted, are used to control several ailments and “when we have counterfeits on the market, it exactly can lead to death.”
Issaka Collison Kofi indicated that his outfit has handed the matter over to the police and the three pharmaceutical companies will be prosecuted.