The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) is warning the public against the purchase and use of certain creams, tablets, capsules, pills and injectables, erroneously prescribed, especially for pregnant women as skin lighting agents.
The regulator says, the products which are not approved, have long term side effects, including damaged lungs.
“The FDA would like the general public to know that these products have not been registered by the Authority and for the indications claimed on their labels”.
At a press conference to throw more light on the issue, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Authority, Delese Darko, said their investigations point to abuse of glutathione capsules also known as baby bleaching pills, which have found its way onto the Ghanaian market.
These products she noted, are imported into the country through smuggling or concealment making it very difficult for authorities at the borders to detect.
Mrs. Darko, explained that though currently, the FDA, has registered some brands of glutathione in accordance with the law as dietary supplements in minimal doses of 100-500 per day for an adult, it has found on the market high glutathione products.
Some of these brands found on the market include Gluta Prime, Phyto Collagen, King of Whitening, GlutaWhite and Ivory capsules skin enhancement formula.
As a food supplement, she said glutathione capsules, should not be marketed as drugs or cosmetics. Therefore, offering it for sale with the claim that the use of glutathione can cure certain diseases are clearly in contravention of Section 113B of the Public Health Act, Act 851 and criminal in intent.
“The doses far exceed the recommended registered dosage of glutathione preparations approved by the FDA, and such strengths have been shown by medical science and some studies to cause side effects including exacerbated asthma, toxic epidermal necrosis renal failure, chest pain, breathing problems and damage to the lungs”.
She particularly warned pregnant women and lactating mothers that the safety of glutathione has not been established in pregnancy and breastfeeding adding “The use of glutathione and at the current dosage found on our markets may likely cause serious health problems for them and their babies”.
The FDA said, it has intensified it monitoring of border posts and market surveillance nationwide warning the necessary regulation sanctions and full rigors of the law will be unleash on anyone or persons who will be caught offering these products for sale or distribution.
Already, some of these products have been seized during swoops nationwide. Culprits are assisting the Police in their investigations, to establish how the products enter the country and who the distributors are. Some of these culprits are with the Nima Police station.
“We have been informed that it has been difficult tracing the suppliers since most of the people arrested obtained the products from “peddling” suppliers. We know the Police will help to assist us to reduce the practice, if not to bring it to a total stop”.
On tramadol and codeine-containing cough syrups abuses, it said the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on safety, has as a matter of concern, done extensive work on codeine-containing cough syrups and has recommended that “Steps be taken to ban the importation and manufacture of codeine-laden cough syrups”.
Mrs. Darko commended highly, the media campaign against substance abuse, especially Tramadol, which had escalated. “I wish to take this opportunity to thank the media for the tremendous work they are doing to educate the general public especially the youth, on the dangers of abusing tramadol.
I was personally amazed at some of the revelations emerging on some of the media stations.I have followed with keen interest the reportage and sustained interest that media stations across the length and breadth of the country have exhibited and we are proud of you”.
While commending the media, the FDA boss urged it especially presenters to attach importance to dangers that come with these products instead of focusing on the so called “desirous benefits”.