Mr Golden Akurugu, Volta Regional Director, Food and Drugs Authority has warned members of the Over-the-Counter Medicine Practitioners Association (OTCMPA) to refrain from buying drugs from unapproved sources.

He has also warned Association members to avoid selling of unclassified medicines as that was crippling efforts of controlling fake products.

He reminded them that they were licensed to sell only class C drugs noting that, “Doing business with these drug peddlers and nation-wreckers was a crime against humanity and that creates patronage and reservoirs for peddling substandard and fake drugs.”

Mr Akurugu was speaking at the 15th Volta Regional Delegates Congress of OTCMPA in Ho, on the theme, “The Role of Over-The Counter Medicine Practitioners in the Healthcare Delivery in Ghana.”

He said recalcitrant members of OTCM practitioners continued to sell Chloroquinne, tramadol and codeine containing cough syrup over the counter with impunity, referring to the practice as unethical.

He challenged the new executives of the Association to work hard to change the narrative and insist on maintaining the required doses for their clients to minimise the incidence of possible drug resistance.

He said a pharmacist per population ratio stood approximately 1: 13,000 nationally and that of the Volta region stood at 1:2,852, which denoted the crucial role and responsibility of over the counter medicine sellers to healthcare delivery and nation building.

Dr Divine Azameti, Deputy Director of Pharmaceutical Services of the Volta Regional Health Directorate said improper handling of medicines could be injurious to clients insisting there was the need to ensure patient safety, quality and efficacy throughout storage, handling, use and proper accountability and medicine management and administration.

He called for focused attitudes, commitments, ethics, knowledge, responsibilities and skills from the OTCMPA with the goal of achieving unambiguous therapeutic outcomes and quality life.

He said the involvement of OTCMPs in the ‘One Health Concept’ should be collaborative, as it was multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary approaches to achieving optimal outcomes, recognizing the interaction between people, animals, plants and their shared environment.

Mr Gabriel Essel, Volta Regional Manager, Pharmacy Council said OTCMPA are important allies to the Council especially for their role as first line health care providers particularly in deprived rural areas.

He urged them to maintain ethical standards and stay above reproach.

Alhaji Hassan Carboo, National President of OTCMPA urged its countrywide membership of 15,000 to sustain the momentum in the provision of quality medicines to boost healthcare delivery and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage.

He said the Association is challenged by the nefarious activities of itinerant drug sellers, whose actions were not regulated in addition to impostors in the system whose modus operandi was extortion of various sums of monies, claiming to be staff of Ghana Standard Authority or Food and Drugs Authority.

He pledged to forge closer collaboration with the Pharmacy Council, FDA and GSB.

Mr Theophilus Dzadey, Acting Volta Regional Chairman of OTCMPA said its active membership stood at 400 with license membership totaling a 1,000.

He said infiltration of fake products from Togo was a major challenge to members and called for strict measures to curb the unpatriotic situation.

An eight member regional executive headed by Mr Oscar Kofi Dovlo was inaugurated to serve a two-year term.

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