The Pharmacy Council and the police have sealed off an Over-The-Counter Medicines facility for selling tramadol, a ‘prescription-only’ pain killer, to an alleged drug addict without a prescription.
The owner of the facility, located at Mamprobi Agege in the Greater Accra Region, and her staff, are scheduled to face the disciplinary committee of the council, where they will be required to explain to the council the reason for dispensing a prescription-only medicine without the appropriate authorisation.
By law, such facilities do not have the mandate to stock and dispense such medication.
Section 108 (1) of the Health Professions Regulatory Bodies Act (Act 857) states that “an inspector may close premises that sell or supply restricted medicines where there were grounds to believe that a health hazard may exist on the premises or where the premises is unlicensed.”
Speaking to the Daily Graphic on the matter in Accra yesterday, the Deputy Registrar, Operations, of the Pharmacy Council, Dr Daniel Amaning Danquah, said some drugs had been labeled as ‘prescription-only’ because of the complications related to abuse and wrong handling, making it illegal to dispense such drugs over the counter to safeguard public health.
He said those medications were only prescribed by Medical Doctors, and the prescription should be the only basis for dispensing such drugs.
“Consuming Tramadol in combination with other substances can lead to liver diseases, renal dysfunction or respiratory dysfunction.
“Additionally when mixed with alcohol, Tramadol can significantly lower brain activity, resulting in the loss of consciousness, increase depression, brain damage and even suicidal tendencies,” he said.
Reminder and details
Dr Amaning Danquah said the Pharmacy Council’s firm action against the illegal dispensing of Tramadol served as a critical reminder of the potential dangers associated with improper handling, distribution and use of prescription only medicine.
It highlights the importance of adhering to regulatory guidelines to safeguard public health and prevent abuse of such medications.
Pharmaceutical service providers are therefore warned to desist from dispensing ‘prescription-only’ medicines without valid prescriptions.
Providing details about what happened, the two policemen saw an alleged drug addict adding a substance to his drink, which was later identified as tramadol.
He said upon further questioning by the policemen, the individual admitted to lacing his drink with tramadol, and revealed that he had obtained the drug from the an OTCMs shop.
“Acting promptly, the officers confronted the facility owner who displayed a defiant and uncooperative attitude during the interrogation.
Consequently, a formal report was lodged with the Pharmacy Council leading to swift enforcement measures being taken,” he said.
Dr Amaning Danquah reaffirmed the collaborative effort between the Pharmacy Council, the police administration and the Food and Drugs Authority to clamp down on the activities of recalcitrant cartels in the industry.