The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has cautioned all media houses and bloggers on the advertisement of unapproved products on air and in print as the practices are against the law.
Speaking on the topic “Advertisement of Regulated Products,” Mr William Agbavitor, FDA Head of Legal, explained that the laws were set to direct media practitioners and other companies’ placement of advertisements for public consumption.
He said in pursuance of the Public Health Act, 2012, Act 851 guidelines were promulgated for information, guidance, and strict compliance by all concerned on the procedure and requirements for submission of applications for the advertisement of drugs medical devices, cosmetics, and household chemical substances.
Mr. Agbavitor stated during a workshop organised by the FDA for Media Marketing Managers in Tema to educate them on FDA guidelines for the advertisement of drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, and household
He explained that any alterations in the approved advertisement without prior
notification and subsequent approval by the FDA would render the advertisement null and void and attract sanctions.
He said the FDA reserved the right to revoke approval of the advertisement as a result of new evidence concerning the product’s quality, safety, and efficacy or any other issues of public health and safety.
He said in the event of putting up an unapproved advertisement, the marketing authorisation holder or representative, sponsor, advertising agent and the media organisation shall be jointly and severally liable.
Mr. Agbavitor said under the law, a media house or blogger shall not advertise a food as a preventive or cure to a disease, therefore, anyone media found would be punished either by fine or imprisonment.
Dr. Cheetham Mingle, Head of Research and Nutrition in Advertisement, told the Ghana News Agency in Tema on the side-lines of the workshop that before an advertise would be aired on the television or radio, the products must be registered with the FDA.
“No person or media shall advertise any product unless the product is registered with the Authority, and any registered product that has undergone some variation that has not been approved by the Authority cannot be advertised,” he said.
He explained that it is an offense to advertise any product in print, or electronic media, including the internet, or by any means of any advertisement that has not been approved by the Authority.
“All approved advertisements shall include the phrase “This advertisement has been vetted and approved by the FDA,” he said and cautioned the media to scrutinize advertise before putting it on air or publishing it.
Mr. Joseph Yaw-Bernie Bennie, FDA Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs, urged the media not to air any unapproved advert on their channel because of the money involved.
He explained that the provisions in the Public Health Act mandated the FDA to take the appropriate action against anyone or institution, including suspension or cancelation of licenses, fines, and imprisonment upon conviction on violations of the laws or regulation.
Mr. Yaw-Bernie Bennie advised all media and bloggers to partner with the FDA and report all products and advertisement without approval from the authority.