A random interview conducted by your authoritative newspaper, The Republic, across the country has discovered fear and panic among Ghanaians, particularly the teeming youth, following a deliberate and affront posture of the Angel Group of Companies, manufacturers of ‘Adonko Bitters,’ to recall its product from the market
Barely a week ago, the Food and Drugs Authority slapped Angel Group of Companies, producers of Adonko Bitters, with a GHc25,000 fine, among other sanctions, for contravening its code on sale and advertisement of alcoholic beverages.
This follows a concert organized by the company at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Easter Monday April 17, this year, that left most of the youth passing out as a result of the excessive intake of the alcoholic product.
According to the FDA, its investigation confirmed that the criterion for gaining access to the concert was solely on condition that each individual purchased a 750ml bottle of the alcoholic beverage at a cost of GH¢10, a situation which resulted in the alcoholic beverage being sold to minors as well.
It also resulted in excessive consumption, clearly putting the consumers at risk of flouting the caution of drinking responsibly.
The situation also contravened Section 3.2.19 of the FDA Guidelines for the Advertisement of Food products which states that “No alcoholic beverage shall be advertised in relation to a public function where persons under the legal drinking age are likely to attend.”
The company also contravened Section 3.2.12 of the FDA Guidelines for the Advertisement of Food products which prohibits the use of well-known personalities in the marketing of alcoholic beverages by engaging Shatta Wale and Bisa Kdei in the promotion programme.
These acts exposed patrons to the said programme to unwarranted serious health risks bordering on public health. The FDA has consequently sanctioned the company as follows: “With immediate effect, the FDA has suspended the Registration and Advertisement License of Angel Group of Companies whilst investigations into the incident continue.”
The company has also been directed to recall the product, Adonko Bitters, from traders and to furnish the FDA with details of the recall plan and, subsequently, the progress of the recall plan.
The company is to pay an administrative charge of GH¢25,000 for failing to comply with the above regulatory requirements.
The FDA will not hesitate to impose further sanctions should Angel Group of Companies fail to comply with these sanctions.
But almost one week after the directives, the company continues to advertise its product Adonko Bitters in the media, particularly radio and television, while the FDA looked-on unconcerned to the surprise of many Ghanaians, especially players in the industry.
The FDA, on July 19, 2015 revoked marketing authorization permits for the sale and distribution of six vitality herbal medicines for men.
All the products including Angel Natural Capsules by Angel Herbal Products Industry were found to have been adulterated with Vardenafil, a synthetic pharmaceutical ingredient used in the formulation of prescription-only medicine for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
Vardenafil is closely related in function to Viagra.
A former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the FDA, Mr. Hudu Mogtari, was quoted by Daily Graphic in its July 20, 2015 edition that, Angel Natural Capsules contains Vardenafil which might have serious health implications such as cerebro-vascular hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain) and could lead to stroke.
“It could even cause heart attack, palpitation and serious cardiovascular events, including sudden cardiac death,” it said.
Explaining further, Mr. Mogtari said the adulteration of the products could also lead to sustained erection and the resultant factor could be impotence.
“Kidney failure, problems with sight and hearing can also not be ruled out,” he further said.
He cautioned the public against the continued patronage of the herbal medicines.
The FDA was also appealing to the public to provide information on persons dealing in the products, as well as others which could endanger public health and safety, he added.
Some players in the herbal preparation industry are of the belief that, Adonko Bitters contain Vardenefil and have therefore questioned why the FDA could not ban the company and its products since they are dangerous for consumption.
“There seems to be some similarities between testimonies of consumers on the side effects of Adonko Bitters and that of Vardernafil.”
It is however imperative for the FDA to immediately launch an in-depth investigation on the safety and adulteration of herbal products with synthetic pharmaceutical ingredients in order to regulate the industry.