The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) in line with international best practice has organized a meeting for freight forwarders and importers of FDA-regulated products to engage with them on new measures for the regulation of imported products. The meeting which took place in two sessions at the FDA office in Tema, brought together eighty (80) participants.
Sections 99 and 118 of the Public Health Act, 2012(Act 851), prohibits the importation of unregistered products but despite this prohibition, the FDA through its port control and market surveillance activities in 2020, noticed that about 20% of goods imported are unregistered and many of them pose potential health hazards to unsuspecting consumers. Another worrying trend is the importation of relatively smaller quantities of European and American Brands under the guise of personal effects but sold to the general public.
Market Surveillance Strategies adopted in March 2020 to help curb the influx of unregistered regulated products, could not be effectively implemented due to restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stakeholders have however been informed of a new effective date for the strict enforcement of Sections 99 and 118 of Act 851 which is now set for 1st February 2021 when no unregistered imports would be allowed for clearance at the ports.
Strategies put in place in March 2020, included, the reduction of registration fees by 80-90% to ensure compliance of Sections 99 and 118 of Act 851 by the business community. A risk-based approach has also been put in place to expedite the registration of certain categories of products. Considering these business-enabling measures that have been put in place, the FDA will not countenance any attempt to flout the laws by importers.
During the meeting, the FDA informed stakeholders of the its collaboration with GRA Customs, through the Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS) to map FDA registration numbers with importer Tax Identification Numbers in the ICUMS to prevent unapproved importers from using registration numbers that belong to other importers.
In conclusion, the FDA reminded all present that, there is a need for stakeholders to work together to strengthen the country's preventive and curative healthcare system in the face of the global pandemic by complying with the measures put in place to protect the health and safety of all consumers.
The FDA exists to protect public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, food, biological products, cosmetics, medical devices, household chemical substances, tobacco and the conduct of clinical trials in the country.