The Pharmaceutical Association of Ghana(PSGH) has partnered with two Accra based award winning digital agencies namely mpedigree Network and Pop Out to support the fight against the inflow of fake drugs in Ghanaian markets through the use of social media technology.
As a result of this partnership, PSGH has launched a technology driven program dubbed “PREVENT INITIATIVE” in Accra yesterday which seeks to prevent the inflow of fake and counterfeit medicines into the country.
The Preventive Initiative according to President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, James Ohemeng Kyei employs the combination of social media tools, such as Facebook, twitter, instagram, whatsapp and what he described as an end user pharmacy- level authentication of medicine by mobile technology.
He noted with the partnership between PSGH, mpedigree and Pop Out, growing number of medicines made and marketed by members of PSGH have been coded with unique ID’s covered by safe scratch-off ink and tracked at individual pack level with Gold keys technology so that patients can verify at the point of sale or dispensing , by scratching to reveal the hidden numbers and then text-messaging to reveal the hidden numbers and then text-messaging the revealed ID number to short-code 1393 to confirm if medicines they have received are valid.
He said “This technology places the power of detecting counterfeit medicines in the hands of patients and consumers, and should over time contribute to quality assurance process for medicines nationwide”
He bemoaned the issues Ghanaians faced as a result of invasion of counterfeit or sub-standard drugs into the country which affect lives and revealed that with the introduction of the preventive initiative technology, Patients would enjoy a user-friendly and convenient channel to seek advice and assistance on suspected quality problems affecting their medicines.
“Such an initiative is especially critical now that this country is confronting epidemics such as Cholera, and fears are mounting about Ebola. Fake antibiotics are and other medicines would only undermine the control of emerging epidemics” he stressed.
It is the expectation of PSGH and its partners that over the next three years, millions of Ghanaians will be to improve confidence in the quality of medicines sold in Ghana, and consequently the commitment of the Pharmacy Profession to total patient safety and medicinal quality
PSGH will be collaborating with the Food and Drugs Authority, Civil Society and Private Sector bodies to step up to ensure a comprehensive response to the challenges confronting the nation and the Pharmaceutical Sector.
Meanwhile customers are advised to look for a scratch panel on a mini-label, a gold padlock with a key inserted on a pack of any medicine purchased and scratch off the panel, text the revealed PIN to short code 1393 and wait for a positive response before consumption, but warned against negative response to reject such medicines if they see a message “do not use the medicine” appeared on the screen of their mobile phones.