The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) on the 23rd of March 2020, held a meeting at the FDA Headquarters in Shiashie, Accra with stakeholders in the Pharmaceutical Industry to engage with them on the availability of essential drugs needed in the era of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the support the industry can provide in the fight against COVID-19.
In order to ensure that there is availability of drugs needed for public consumption during this Covid-19 pandemic, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mrs. Delese Darko led a team of FDA Officers to meet with stakeholders from the Chamber of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana (PMAG), Pharmaceutical Importers and Wholesalers Association (PIWA), Community Practice Pharmacists Association (CPPA), and Small Scale Pharmaceuticals Manufacturers Association.
As part of FDA's function to advise the Minister of Health on measures for the protection of consumer wellbeing, the meeting also aimed at ensuring that there is adequate and continuous supply of some medicines that are being recommended in the proposed Treatment Guidelines for Covid-19.
It was necessary to establish the current stocks of essential medicines, both finished products and raw materials, the capacity of the local manufacturers to meet the needs of the country as most countries are limiting the export of both finished products and raw materials. This information would help the Ministry of Health in planning to avert any shortages and stock outs.
The stakeholders gave the assurance that the industry has the capacity to produce the selected drugs and that current stocks of locally manufactured and imported medicines are adequate to cater for the Covid-19 pandemic for the next three months.
The stakeholders stated that they require Government financial support to procure more materials to ensure continuous supply of these essentials medicines. They called on Government to also supply the requisite guarantees to enable them secure financial support from the banks. The CEO reiterated the Government's commitment to financially support the local Pharmaceutical Industry.
Mrs. Darko said the FDA would put in the necessary measures, including fast-track registration of all Covid-19 related regulated products as is being done for hand sanitizers which are currently being given conditional approval within 48 hours on receipt of the applications, to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
The CEO assured the meeting that the issue of substandard hand sanitizers is being handled by the FDA. In addition to continuously updating the list of approved hand sanitizers, the FDA would soon publish a list of unregistered hand sanitizers and urged everyone to patronise only the registered ones.
At the end of the meeting, an appeal was made to Government in the interest of public health and safety, to consider making provision of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to Community Pharmacies and Over-the-Counter Medicine Sellers who are the first-line of call for most consumers.
The CEO strongly urged all individuals to use the toll free number (112) provided by the Ministry of Health whenever they observe the signs and symptoms of the Corona virus.
The FDA exist to ensure the safety, quality and efficacy of human and veterinary drugs, food, biological products, cosmetics, medical devices, household chemical substances and clinical trials, and the control of tobacco products through the enforcement of relevant standards to protect public health.