The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has begun a three-day training programme for more than 300 herbal medicine manufacturers in Eastern Region on best practices to meet global standards and guarantee public safety.
The training is taking place at Okorase in the Akuapem North Municipality and aims to educate the herbal producers on FDA requirements for product registration, preparation, and packaging.
Addressing participants at the opening session, Mr Samuel Kwakye, Eastern Regional Director of FDA, said most herbal medicines brought before FDA for registration and testing failed to meet set standards due to the high quantity of microorganisms in their end products.
He blamed the concentration of microorganisms in the products on noncompliance to standard procedures by manufacturers during the preparation and packaging stages.
He said the training, therefore, sought to deepen the understanding of practitioners on standard procedures for manufacturing herbal medicines, particularly compliance with standards needed at production sites.
It would also expose the participants to environmental standards essential for the manufacturing of drugs, packaging, storage, and other regulatory requirements.
According to the FDA, 278 herbal centres and 348 products had been registered in the Eastern Region, however, only 78 of the products had been approved for public consumption.
Mr George Ampofo, FDA Eastern Regional Public Relations Officer, told the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday that despite efforts to regularize activities of herbal medicine producers, the market was flooded with unregistered and unapproved products.
He said FDA would give practitioners a one-week ultimatum after the training to redeem themselves, or be clamped down to get rid of the unauthorized herbal products and ensure public safety.
Mr Kingsley Yaw Nkansah, Eastern Regional Chairman of Herbal Medicines Manufacturers Association, highlighted the potential of the herbal industry to create huge employment avenues for the teeming jobless youth.
He was therefore hopeful that the FDA would continue to support producers to regularize their activities and operate within the acceptable standards.
He also said herbal products have the potency to cure many ailments, and should the industry had the support it would play a very important role in Ghana’s healthcare delivery system.