The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), has urged the public to report adverse effects of medicines to the nearest health facility or community pharmacy for prompt action.
Western Regional Manager of FDA, Mr. Abu Sumailar, explained that every medicine has some side effects with unpleasant reactions like nausea, diarrhoea, dizziness, headache and sometimes deaths.
He said over the years, the FDA had tried to improve the safety of medicines by receiving feedback from patients through institutional contact persons (ICP) in various health facilities.
However, he said, the feedback had not been forthcoming, therefore, the Authority decided to revive it reporting by training physicians, nurses, pharmacists and laboratory technicians from selected public and private health facilities in 15 districts in the Region, in order to improve healthcare delivery.
He said the training was undertaken by the FDA in partnership with the Ghana Health Service for health professionals selected from the Effia-Nkwanta Regional, Takoradi and, Essikado Hospitals, Kwesimintsim Polyclinic, as well as other private health facilities.
The Regional FDA Boss tasked the health professionals to fill adverse drug reaction forms for patients whenever they report any side effects of medicines for onward submission to the Authority for the necessary action.
He added that the Authority had created Patients Safety Centres in community pharmacies across the country and urged the public to take advantage to report adverse effects of medicines.
He observed that although there is no sanction for health professionals for wrongful prescription of medication to patients in Ghana, however, this could end up in legal tussle in advanced countries.
Meanwhile, Mr Alfred Dadzie, Clinical Pharmacist at the Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital, has advised the public to be vigilant and report any counterfeit household chemicals, blood and blood-related products, vaccines, anti-biotics and cosmetics to the FDA for investigation.
He noted that people react to medicines due to differences in genetics and, therefore, admonished breast-feeding mothers and care-givers to report any abnormal reaction of their babies after every immunization.He said the Ghana Health Service has added pharmacovigilance assessment to its Annual Peer Preview Mechanism.
Explaining the term pharmacovigilance, he said, it is the science and activities relating to the detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of adverse effects of drugs and other drug-related problems.
This involves monitoring the effects of medicines after they had been licensed for use, especially in order to identify and evaluate previously unreported adverse reactions.