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FDB to meet stakeholders on drug advert ban
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General News of Tuesday, 5 September 2006

Source: GNA

FDB to meet stakeholders on drug advert ban

Accra, Sept. 5, GNA -- The Food and Drugs Board (FDB) announced on Tuesday that it has scheduled meetings with stakeholders to address problems that have been associated with advertisements of drugs, herbal medicines and any products that make claim for cure or management of any disease condition.

A statement signed by Mr Emmanuel Agyarko, Chief Executive, said the stakeholders should send representatives in management positions to attend the meetings.

The FDB said the meetin gs were to decide on the next steps to take to address the situation and reminded media houses to strictly adhere to the temporary ban on the advertisements of drugs which came into effect on September 1.

The stakeholders include the National Media Commission; Advertisers Association of Ghana; Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association; All Transport Associations in Ghana; Consumers Association of Ghana; Pharmacy Council; Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana; Pharmaceutical Association of Ghana; Ghana Medical Association and Representatives of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.

According to the timetable the meetings in Accra and Wa would be held on September 11; Ho and Bolgatanga on September 13; Koforidua and Tamale on September 14; Cape Coast and Sunyani on September 19 and Takoradi and Kumasi on September 20.

"Further action relating to the temporary ban will depend on the outcome of these meetings and commitments to make public health and safety the highest priority."

The FDB's temporary ban on the advertisement of drugs, herbal medicines and any product that were claimed to be for the cure or management of any disease has triggered angry reactions from several organisations such as the NMC, Advertisers Association of Ghana and Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association.

The FDB said it had observed with great concern the misleading nature of some advertisements, especially unsubstantiated and false claims made through these adverts.

These, it said, practices continued despite the several interventions by the Board, which had included disclaimers, education campaigns, media workshops, arrests and prosecutions jointly undertaken by the Board and the Police.

The FDB said in as much as the Board recognized that manufacturers, media houses and advertisers generated revenue from advertisement; it must be noted that drugs should not be treated as ordinary articles of commerce but that public health and safety should be given the ultimate consideration.

"The Board, therefore, wishes to bring to the attention of manufacturers, media houses, importers, distributors and wholesalers of these regulated products, herbal clinics, centres, stakeholders and the general public that as from 1st September 2006, a temporary ban comes into effect on all advertisements of drugs, herbal medicines, cosmetics, medical devices, household chemicals as well as bitters that make claims for cure, preventions or management of any disease."

The statement said during the period of the temporary ban, the Board would in collaboration with research institutions and the Advertisers Association of Ghana, among other measures; organize massive educative programmes for the media and other stakeholders to ensure maximum compliance when the ban was lifted.

The Board warned all manufacturers and marketers of the regulated products, the media particularly FM stations and the general public that it would not take kindly to anyone, who flouted the directive, which was aimed at ensuring public health and safety.

It said product licence holders were required to use other evidence-based approaches in promoting their products with the view to building confidence and ensuring integration of traditional and other natural health care.

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