The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has announced its intent to take action against media outlets that promote unapproved medicines.
This decision follows the recent exposé by the Fourth Estate, an investigative project of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), revealing dangerous endorsements of herbal medicines by some media houses, including the notorious ‘MACOFA’ Herbal drug. According to Mrs. Rhoda Appiah, the Head of Communications for the FDA, media institutions found promoting unapproved medicines could face administrative charges and legal sanctions, including fines and imprisonment.
She emphasized that the FDA is committed to upholding public health safety and cited Section 100 and 144 of the Public Health Act, 2012, Act 851, as well as FDA guidelines, which prohibit any unapproved advertisements of FDA-regulated products as preventive drugs for diseases, disorders, or abnormal physical conditions.
Furthermore, Mrs. Appiah highlighted that advertisements for the treatment, prevention, or cure of diseases listed in the fifth schedule of Act 851, such as sexually transmitted diseases, cancer, hypertension, and sexual importance, are also strictly prohibited.
The FDA has already taken steps to engage with marketing executives of media institutions and will actively monitor both print and electronic media stations to gather evidence for potential sanctions. Mrs. Appiah urged media practitioners and celebrities not to endorse or advertise products without obtaining clearance from the FDA and reiterated the authority’s commitment to partnering with stakeholders to prioritize consumer health.
This crackdown comes in the wake of concerns raised regarding the role of media houses in promoting herbal medicines, with only a few media outlets conducting due diligence to ensure the authenticity and FDA approval of advertised products.