Antimalarial, antiretroviral drugs of good quality

BY: Emmanuel Bruce
• Mrs Mimi Delese Darko  — Chief Executive Officer of FDA
• Mrs Mimi Delese Darko — Chief Executive Officer of FDA

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has assured the general public that 100 per cent of anti-malarial and antiretroviral drugs in the country are of good quality.

The FDA said the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines on the Ghanaian market were closely monitored on a daily basis and, therefore, there was no need for the public to panic.

Heightened surveillance

The authority in a statement said it had also introduced several risk-based approaches and interventions such as the extensive processes involved in medical products which had had far reaching effects to curb the menace of substandard and fake medicines in the country.

The FDA, it said, in attempts to control the influx of substandard and falsified medicines into the country by unauthorised means, had heightened surveillance at the country’s ports of entry which led to the seizure and destruction of many such products.

“The FDA, with support from government, is also working with neighbouring countries through the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO), the WHO and the International Police (Interpol) in this regard.

“The authority has also constituted a 12-member inter-agency committee, from the security services, the judiciary service and other allied health agencies, solely to provide strategies and recommendations on combating the menace of substandard/falsified medical products, including developing and maintaining a watch list of medical products considered to be most susceptible to counterfeiting,” the statement said.

It recounted that about 39.6 per cent of antimalarial medicines on the Ghanaian market were substandard and falsified in 2009 and as part of efforts to combat the issue it mounted an intensive nationwide public education and post-market surveillance activities.

Study

“This was shown in a study conducted by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) with the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) which indicated a drastic reduction in the proliferation of substandard and falsified medicines from 39.9 per cent in 2009 to about 1.4 per cent in 2018,” The FDA said in a statement.

In the case of antiretroviral medicines, the statement said the 2019 study indicated that about 14 per cent were found to be substandard due to the degradation of key components of the medicines, and also as a result of poor storage and transportation.

“It is, however, instructive to note that anti-malarial and antiretroviral medicines in Ghana had a 100 per cent pass with respect to quality in 2019, a no mean feat that must be acknowledged by all,” the statement added.