Chinese Embassy officials on Saturday met the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and promised to help Ghana identify the origins of counterfeit medicines as well as fight the illegal trade in Ghana.
The Chinese officials who called on FDA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Stephen K. Opuni, said the meeting was premised on recent media reports on activities of the FDA to clamp down on counterfeit drugs which are alleged to come from China.
Discussions were centered on substandard and fake medicines imported and supplied by Lymens Medical supplies, Osons Chemist and Sarkuff Pharmacy, to health institutions in the country and also the importation of fake Tres Orix Forte from China by one Rita Fordjour.
Dr Opuni expressed his displeasure at the rate at which substandard and fake medicines from China, India and other countries are flooding the Ghanaian market and welcomed the gesture by the Chinese government to help fight the menace.
He said till date some of the importers such as Lymens Medical Supplies, one of the companies recently known to have imported counterfeit medicine in the country and who are assisting the police in investigations, have still not been able to disclose the origins of such drugs raising the suspicion the companies from which these drugs were produced may well be non-existent.
Mr Gao Wendzi, Economic and Commercial counselor at the Chinese Embassy, said his government was concerned about the menace and ready to assist the country to bring the culprits to book.
He pledged the Chinese government’s support to trace the origins of the companies and their Ghanaian counterparts involved to help end the illegal trade.
Some Few weeks ago the FDA apprehended three giant Ghanaian pharmaceutical companies for supplying substandard and fake drugs to some hospitals and pharmacies across the country.
The three companies - including Lymens Medical Supplies Limited and Sarkuff Pharmacy - are alleged to have imported unregistered, fake and substandard medicines.
The Authority said the fake, substandard and contaminated medicines imported included Oxytocin and Ergometrine injections which when given to women fail to control bleeding after child delivery and could result in death. The substandard and contaminated Oxytocin injections according to the FDA were manufactured in China by companies with no addresses.
A third company is said to have registered Ergometrine injection from Ciron Drugs in India with the FDA, however samples of the product purchased from hospitals countrywide were found to be substandard as they contained no active pharmaceutical ingredients.
The company has also supplied unregistered and substandard Oxytocin injection manufactured in China by Anhui Medihel Company Limited to hospitals and other health facilities throughout the country.
Sarkuff Pharmacy on the other hand, supplied fake Oxytocin, Ergometrine and quinine injections to the Saltpond Government Hospital and other pharmacies.
The medicines were manufactured in India, Pakistan and China for pharmacies in Nigeria with addresses like Onitsha and Agege Motor Road.
The three companies are still assisting the FDA and the police in further investigations, while hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and the general public are being advised to be careful when purchasing medicines from these companies.