The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) in collaboration with the police and other agencies have affected the arrest of sixteen (16) suspected drug peddlers in a swoop at the Madina market on Thursday, 15th November, 2017. The drugs being peddled by the peddlers at the time of arrest included Tramadol, aphrodisiacs, de-wormers and other bottled concoctions.

The swoop formed part of the six (6) day workshop on pharmaceutical crime investigations and intelligence gathering that was organised by the FDA with the support of the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom. The training was to equip participants with skills on modern trends in pharmaceutical crime investigations, intelligence and the handling of evidence.

The workshop on pharmaceutical crime investigations and intelligence which took place from 13th to 18th November, 2017 and brought together officials of the FDA, Judicial Service, Ghana Police Service, Bureau of National Investigation (BNI), Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), Custom Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Media.

Some of the dangers or side effects of abusing and using high doses of Tramadol include headache, dizziness, drowsiness, tired feeling, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, feeling nervous or anxious and itching. The others are sweating, flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling), noisy breathing, sighing, shallow breathing, a slow heart rate or weak pulse, a light-headed feeling (like you might pass out), seizures (convulsions), infertility, missed menstrual periods, impotence, sexual problems and loss of interest in sex.

A vast majority of the other unregistered products that were seized from the peddlers were aphrodisiacs. The FDA’s previous laboratory analyses conducted on some of these aphrodisiacs revealed that they contained abnormally high doses of tadalafil (a prescription only medicine). Some of the complications of these medicines include heart failures, stroke, priapism, sudden death and vaginal cancer (in the case of aphrodisiacs meant for women to apply in the vagina).

It was revealed during interrogation of the suspects, who were mostly nationals of Niger, that they purchased their medicines from som locations in Accra.

Pharmaceutical crime has become a global phenomenon and it involves the selling or promoting a pharmaceutical product for what it is not. It therefore includes falsified, counterfeit, mislabeled and misrepresented medicines and medical devices. The menace of pharmaceutical crime thus threatens the health of the world’s population because treatment failures and drug resistance have become global issues putting patients at risk.

In line with the FDA’s mandate of protecting public health and safety, the training was organised to sustain collaboration with relevant stakeholders to improve sanctions and the prosecution processes of offenders. It was also aimed at increasing the capacity for investigation, intelligence gathering, inspections, and the collation of evidence as well as to improve and sustain market surveillance exercises by the FDA.

Meanwhile, the suspects are going through further interrogation to unravel the source of supply of the medicine they were peddling; this would assist the FDA in dealing with the menace from the roots.

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