The Foods & Drugs Authority (FDA) has issued a new heath alert over the influx of fake Vermox tablets into the Ghanaian market.
Vermox is an anti-worm medication, which prevents worm-infections from growing or multiplying in the human body.
The authority says it discovered the fake drugs in some pharmacies and shops in the Western and Greater Accra regions during its daily post-market surveillance activities.
Speaking to Citi News, the Chief Regulatory Officer of the FDA, Agyemang Duah, said the fake Vermox tablets did not contain the required ingredients for treatment of worm diseases.
“When we did the analysis, we realized that the two fake Vermox tablets did not contain the active ingredients to cure worms when consumed. They only contain starch, that’s how we were able to detect them,” he said.
Mr. Duah also stated that the tablets had the following features: BLL IVO1 (batch number); 01/2011 (manufacturing date) and 12/2016 (expiry date). The second fake drug also has DBL4GO1 as its batch number, 02/2013 (manufacturing date) and 11/2016 (expiry date).
“Look out for these batch numbers, manufacturing dates, expiry dates and the source of the products”, he said.
“We have intentionally left out the batch numbers of the original drugs because they have various batches; we didn’t want to confuse the public with so many batch numbers,” he added and urged the public to use the numbers to detect the fake drugs on the market.
He advised retailers who deal in drugs to obtain their supplies from only authorized dealers.
“The owners of these institutions should ensure that their products are from accredited sources, where the drugs can be traced in the event of any eventuality or problem,” he said.
Mr. Duah went on to warn the public to be on the alert to enable them tell the difference between the original Vemox tablets and the fake ones.
He also encouraged Ghanaians to report any fake drugs they might detect on the market to the Authority for prompt action.
“Persons with information should not hesitate to inform our offices of anything suspicious that they come in contact with. We will respond quickly to your consumer complaints. You can also approach the Police to relay your complaints, so they can liaise with the FDA,” Mr. Duah stated.
Some two years ago, the International Policy Network released a report which gave shocking details about the scourge of fake drugs in less developed countries.
The report, sponsored by IMANI-Ghana, exposed widening problem of counterfeit and substandard drugs, which can constitute up to one third of the drug supply in certain African countries.
According to the report nearly half the drugs sold in Ghana, Nigeria, Angola, Burundi, and the Congo are substandard
These dodgy drugs, it said, result in unnecessary death and increased levels of drug resistance.
Experts estimate that fake tuberculosis and malaria drugs alone kill some 700,000 people a year. The figure is comparable to four fully loaded jumbo jets crashing every day.
A report of the 2011 World Economic Forum has put the size of the world’s phony drug market at about $200 billion, the second biggest illegal market after marijuana, cocaine and opium.