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Unregulated adverts of medicines and treatments causing deaths – GMA

By
Christabel Addo, GNA
  

Accra, Aug. 23, GNA – The
Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has expressed concern about the escalation of
unregulated advertisements of medicines and treatment of diseases and media and
commercial settings.

It has attributed it
to the numerous deaths among patients.

According to the GMA,
most of these advertisements were often obnoxious and misleading, succeeding in
luring patients into using them to cause further health complications and even
death, because they are presented too late to the hospitals.

Deputy Commissioner of
Police (DCOP) Dr Emmanuel Ewusi-Emmim, the President of Ghana Medical
Association, at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, to voice out the
GMA’s concerns, said complaints had been received from its membership across
the country on the negative effects of these unproven treatments, especially
herbal treatments.

It argued that some of
these unregulated adverts were purely motivated by profits, and had no interest
of the well-being of the people at heart, stressing that the claims by these
unscrupulous individuals were causing great harm to patients and thereby increasing
morbidity and mortality rates.

He cited the growing
instances where patients who had bone fractures, had to lose their limbs or
other body parts through amputation because of the negative effects caused by
herbal splinting and late reporting of these cases to the hospitals.

He called for
strengthened stakeholder collaboration, particularly with the media, to enhance
public education, advocacy, and also push the mandated state institutions
including the Food and Drugs Authority, to enforce the legislations that
prohibit advertisements of unproven treatment, prevention, and cure remedies
for very serious ailments that threatened the health and safety of Ghanaians
and patients, in gross breach of the laws of the country.

He said “a typical
example of such obnoxious and misleading advertisements was in one of the
leading newspapers where it is stated that a massage parlour is offering
treatment for cancer of the breast, brain, liver, kidneys, lungs, prostrate
among others”, in clear breach of the Public Health Act 2012 (Act 851).

DCOP Dr Ewusi-Emmim
said Section 113 of the Public Health Act 2012 (Act 851), with the caption
“Deception of Consumers”, stated among other things that it was an offense for
anyone to label, package, sell and advertise a drug, herbal medicine,
cosmetics, medical devices or household chemical substances, in a manner that
was misleading or misbranded as regarded its character, constitution, value,
potency, quality, composition, merits or safety.

Moreover, Section 114
of the same Act, also prohibited advertisements of such products as well as
treatment, preventive or cure for diseases, disorders or abnormal physical
state, unless the adverts had been approved by the appropriate Authority, he
said.

The Fifth Section of
the Public Health Act, he said, stated that diseases for which advertisements
for treatment, prevention or cure were prohibited included sexually transmitted
diseases, other forms of genito-urinary diseases, AIDS or any illness connected
with the human reproductive functions.

The GMA he explained
was not against herbal practices, but was concerned about the unregulated
manner in which the laws were being violated, threatening the health and safety
of Ghanaians.

He therefore urged the
public to report all illnesses to authorised health facilities for appropriate
treatment to avoid complications and fatalities.

GNA

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