The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) will by the end of this month destroy expired medicines it discovered at the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH).
This follows investigations by the FDA into recent media reports that the hospital was administering expired medicines to unsuspecting patients.
The Northern Regional Director of the FDA, Mr Martin Kusi, who disclosed this to journalists at a day’s workshop in Tamale last Wednesday, said the authority found a lot of expired medicines at the hospital during the investigations and that arrangements were being made for their safe disposal.
Mr Kusi said the FDA would complete the audit of the expired drugs found at the TTH this month, to be followed by their safe disposal.
He explained that the authority had to follow administrative procedures, including taking inventory of the expired medicines, saying that once that was completed, the next action would be to safely dispose of the expired medicines.
“You know you cannot move in immediately to take any action, so we have to write to the Chief Executive Officer of the hospital and after he has responded to our letter, we’ll move in to do our work. Now we are in the process of taking inventory of the expired drugs and this will end by the end of the month to enable us to safely dispose of the expired medicines,” Mr Kusi stated.
The Deputy Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the TTH, Mr Ahmed Fareed, told the Daily Graphic that the hospital was aware of the expired medicines on its premises but had kept them in a separate location away from its Central Medical Stores.
Mr Fareed explained that it was rather the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the hospital, Dr Prosper Akambong, who wrote to the FDA to take inventory of those expired medicines at the facility and ensure their safe disposal, discounting assertions that the FDA made the discovery during its own investigations at the hospital.
The deputy PRO added that the hospital on its own could not dispose of the medicines, as that was the mandate of the FDA.
Mr Fareed dared any member of the public who received expired medication from the hospital to show proof.
The workshop was to introduce an online reporting system, known as the SafetyWatch System (SWS), to enable health workers in the region to report drug safety issues, including vaccines and other regulated products, to the authority.
The FDA organised the workshop with the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO) for pharmacists, district disease control officers and health administrators across the region.
The Head of Safety Monitoring Department of the FDA, Mr George Sabblah, advised health workers and patients to report issues of Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) in time to the authority for immediate action, which included the safe disposal of the said medicines in the facility to ensure public safety.
He explained that the system would ensure pharmacovigilance to protect patients from unnecessary harm, as well as attract public confidence in medications administered in health facilities.
The head of safety monitoring encouraged patients not to hesitate to report any ADRs and that patients could also report by sending short message service (SMS) messages to the short code ‘4015’.
About three months ago, it was reported that the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) was administering expired medicines at the facility, for which some anaesthetists at the hospital went on strike in protest.
Following the media reports, the FDA moved in to investigate the issue, leading to the discovery of the expired medicines at the facility