General News of Monday, 21 October 2013
“If I were him (Prez Mahama), I will dismiss the entire management of the FDA board…..if this goes on and President Mahama allows these officers to be at post, then he is a woman (strong-willed),” asserts a member of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The NPP activist was speaking to the issue of the Food and Drugs Authority's (FDA) apparent deprecation of its supervisor, the Ministry of Health’s attempt to douse the flames of antagonism fanning in the industry.
The MoH's crime was that it had released a statement signed by the PRO, Tony Goodman, expressing its 'disquiet over the media war between the FDA and Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSG) regarding the alleged importation of unregistered and, or fake medicines into the country and further called for a ceasefire.
The statement went ahead to appoint a three-member Ministerial Committee chaired by Deputy Minister for Health, Dr Alfred Tia Sugri, to review and advise the sector Minister on the steps being taken to avoid the recurrence conflict between the FDA as a regulator, and importers of pharmaceuticals.
However, the steps taken by the Ministry appears to have annoyed the FDA who accused the MoH of dereliction of duty regarding the importation of substandard condoms. The FDA was also unenthused by the headline of the MOH’s statement, which stated inter alia 'Ministry of Health Press Release: Self indicting and embarrassing.’
Discussing the obvious bad blood between the two state agencies, Asamoah Gyamfi posited on Okay fm that since the FDA does not operate in a vacuum, but acts under the supervision of the sector ministry, the MOH has every right to call FDA to order if something is going amiss.
Reminding the management of FDA of its limitations, the outspoken NPP member said that the guidelines under which the FDA operates were prepared by the Health Ministry, who submitted it to Parliament for the necessary legal backing, thus guaranteeing the ministry the right to intervene in matters relating to FDA.
“When President Mahama appointed the leaders of FDA, it was the Minister in-charge of Health who swore them into office and so FDA operates under another authority and does not work alone...the decision taken by FDA impugns on the competency and integrity of the whole pharmaceutical unit of the MoH because TOBINCO Pharmaceutical Limited is a major supplier to the ministry; they should not forget that their salary budget is prepared by MoH and that no amendment can be done without the ministry saying so,” he enlightened.
“FDA is frustrating importers of pharmaceutical products in the name of protecting consumers...by unduly delaying their registration permits for sometimes over a year,” he added.
To him, the alleged refusal by the FDA to honor the invitation from the committee is probably because of the fear that some wrong by the authority will be exposed; stressing that “MoH is acting on the orders of President Mahama and if nothing is done about the behavior of FDA which is a subordinate of the ministry, then this government is confused.”