A collaboration between the Volta Regional Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) at its landed borders has yielded in 26 seizures of unregistered and fake drugs valued at GHC 190,000 in the first quarter of 2019.
Majority of the arrests and confiscations occurred at the Segbe CEPS border post alone, amounting to about GHC 150,000 with Aflao and Akanu borders being the other routes.
Mr Gorden Akurugu, Head of the Volta Directorate of FDA, who disclosed these to the Ghana News Agency in an interview said the safety and efficacy of the unregistered consignments could not be ascertained, hence the seizure.
He said the consignments contained largely aphrodisiacs, antibiotics, anti-ulcer drugs, analgesics, blood pressure check kits and unregistered tobacco suspected to be coming from Nigeria and Togo.
He indicated that only two designations have been approved in the country for the importation of medicines and drug related products, namely the Kotoka International Airport and the Tema Habour saying "Any importer, who uses the landed borders can only be doing so for smuggling purposes and such products will be seized."
He said FDA is mandated aside of regulating activities and control and use of manufactured medicines, household chemicals, medical devices, cosmetics, pharmaco-vigilante, post-market-surveillance and the control of imports and exports of regulated products coming into the region and country at large, to maintain wholesomeness of food and drug items.
"I urge importers to use the right procedures and channels and avoid using the landed borders as these unregistered products will be detained and seized."
He said there was strong cordiality between FDA and CEPS base commands operating in its six inland borders including Ho Command, Nyive, Shia, Batume and the affore-mentioned post.
He commended especially Mr S. Y. Owusu, Segbe CEPS base Commander and his team for their diligence, vigilance and patriotism to duty, which had led to 17 seizures within the period and appealed passionately to others to emulate their example to stem the influx of sub-standard and counterfeit drugs and medical devices into the country.
Mr Akurugu said FDA is collaborating with the Ghana Revenue Authority's new anti-smuggling taskforce instituted by government to clampdown on the activities of smugglers and nation-wreckers, whose modus operandi is targeted at self-centeredness and aggrandisement through fraudulent behavior and deceit.
He disclosed that FDA and relevant agencies are investigating the seizures to ascertain its source as many of those arrested are usually carriers with the premonition to fish out the kingpins behind these deals for possible prosecution to deter other recalcitrant members of the public planning to join this nation-wrecking activity.