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Opinions of Friday, 20 March 2015

Columnist: The Republic

Food and Drugs Authority must be up and doing

Over the years, the Ghanaian market had been virtually flooded with fake goods, especially drugs which are sometimes adulterated, expired goods, sub-standard goods and improperly labeled products due to the porousness on our ports and borders.

This mishap has given birth to trade in aphrodisiacs for some time now; this trade has become so lucrative that people from all walks of life, regardless of their educational backgrounds, have found it expedient to trade in them, oblivious of its health implications for the consuming public.

With the exception of the herbal aphrodisiacs locally produced in the country, almost all the rest, which have flooded the Ghanaian markets, went through the nations’ porous ports and borders, at either the blindside or at the full glare of Food and Drugs Authority and its allied institutions; institutions supposed to serve as a check on such nefarious trade.

After shirking their responsibility, the Food and Drugs Authority is now pointing accusing fingers at the various media outlets for entertaining advertisements of herbal products and drugs without recourse to the provisions of the country’s food and drugs laws and regulations of medical devices (MDs).

Why were they allowed into the country in the first place? Whose responsibility is it to make sure such illegal drugs do not enter into the country? Certainly not the media.

The crust of the matter is, most of these aphrodisiacs do not meet standard health requirements of the country and for that matter do not go through the pharmaceutical shops, but rather, travels straight from ports and borders into our markets with their inherent danger to human health.

It then behooves on FDA, Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) and Ghana Standard Authority to find a clandestine way of intercepting those illegal and harmful drugs from making their way into our markets and endangering the lives of these adventurous men who sheepishly patronize them, so they can outperform their female counterparts at the expense of their (men) health, knowingly or unknowingly.

Most of these aphrodisiacs are proving by experts to be the cause of a chunk of erectile dysfunction and sterility in men.

The side effects, according to medical experts, of these illegally imported sub-standard aphrodisiacs include; irregularities of the rhythm of the heart, suicidal tendencies, mental disorders and tremors, dilation of blood vessels in other parts of the body, severe headaches/migraines and fainting, facial flushing, upset stomach, blurred vision and sensitivity to light usually occur with higher doses.

The Republic is therefore calling on authorities like the Ghana Standard Board, Food and Drugs Authority, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service and Environmental Protection Agency to be vigilant and strictly enforce rules, laws and regulations that governs the importation of such drugs into the country.

The Republic also charges the media to intensify campaign on the dangers of using aphrodisiacs, especially by the youth.

It also behooves on consumers to also play their roles in this fight by looking out for sub-standard products and reporting to the appropriate authorities those found to have traded in them.