The National Diabetes Association of Ghana has cautioned the public against the purchase of a fake diabetes drug, INSUMED online, being sold under the guise of the association.
The association said it was waiting on the outcome of investigations by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) for the next line of action, including involving the police to arrest the perpetrators.
Addressing the media in Accra yesterday, the President of the association, Mrs Elizabeth Esi Denyo, said having established scientifically that the drug was fake, it became necessary to organise the press conference to draw public attention to what she described as a health threat.
She appealed to the FDA and the Pharmacy Council to speed up investigations into the matter, since it was about life and death, and called on the Ministry of Health to intervene to facilitate the process.
According to Mrs Denyo, in the past two months, the association had been receiving about 70 calls daily from people who either enquired about the dosage of the drug or complained about discomfort such as dizziness, abdominal pains and headache after taking it.
She explained that her outfit had been receiving those calls because people behind the importation and sale of the drug had advertised the contacts of the association as the numbers to call for further enquiries.
She added that the calls for dosage advice were also because the information leaflet accompanying the drug had not been translated from Bulgarian to English, as required by law.
She said when the calls were becoming alarming, the association lodged a complaint with the FDA, which assured the association that it would investigate the issue.
“The FDA is not telling us anything; meanwhile, we continue to receive calls from patrons of the fake diabetes medication,” Mrs Denyo said.
She cautioned the public against buying any diabetes medication online or without prescription from a qualified health professional.
Mrs Denyo further expressed worry over the way the medication made its way into Ghana, considering the cumbersome procedure to follow to bring legitimate pharmaceutical products into the country.
“Our independent investigations traced the source of the product to the address of a real estate agency in Bulgaria, SPB Reality, and not a pharmaceutical company,” she said.