The order by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to manufacturers of popular food supplement, COA FS, COA Herbal Centre to withdraw the product from the market over claims of unsafe consumption, has raised concerns over how the regulatory body relates to local entrepreneurs or companies who produce ground-breaking products.
Many Ghanaians have expressed surprise over the FDA’s action considering the fact that COA FS was on high demand following the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic.
Some Ghanaians, including some top officials at the FDA believe that there could be other reasons for the recall other than the alleged contamination.
A businessman, Akpemada Asare said he used the product in 2019 when he was battling with his health. He added that the supplement was a life saver.
Mr Asare who did not disclose the kind of illness said, he is now able to do things which hitherto, he was not able to do.
He said he became okay after taking two bottles of the food supplement.
He therefore expressed surprise upon hearing that the product is contaminated,” As for me I don’t believe it ooo. The medicine was a life saver. My dear, we are in Ghana oooo. Anything can happen. I will be okay if they are recalling just batch numbers but all products hmmm”.
“Are they sabotaging the company as Ghanaians always do? I just cannot get it. Contamination paa, we live to see. I don’t know why we treat local companies who are chalking up success badly”, he stated.
On her part, 57 year old Madam Beatrice Amoako, an Environmental Officer who was battling with Hypertension said her BP became normal after using a supplement.
Reacting to the recall of the product, she said, “The FDA knows what is best for us, but I can sincerely tell you the supplement is good. I don’t use any medication again after i used it. I have even recommended it to my elderly children and friends. It is a good product “.
Mr Emmanuel Akpo, a diabetic patient told Graphic Online that the supplement has sustained him for the past three years.
A pharmacist at Okai Shi at Accra Central, Dominic Prempah said he has been selling the food supplement for over a year.
According to him, there have been so many positive feedbacks about the drug after people who are battling life-threatening diseases like liver problems, cancer, diabetes, stroke among others used it.
He said he got out of stock with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the country , adding that he was waiting for new supply when he heard of the news of the recall.
All attempts to speak to the Head of Communications of FDA, Mr James Lartey on the issue has proved futile.
Meanwhile, a highly placed source at the FDA has conceded that the regulatory body misfired when it announced the recall of the product without referring to the batch numbers.
“How can you recall a drug without making reference to the batch numbers? Are we recalling all the drugs? This is tantamount to collapsing the business of a hardworking local entrepreneur, whose product is world acclaimed! The FDA goofed and it must come again because this blanket statement is quite embarrassing for the regulator,” the source fumed.
COA FS Herbal Center has been cooperating with the FDA with regards to testing of its products over the years but the regulatory body appears not be giving a reciprocal gesture.
According to our source, the FDA official who did the last testing necessitating the recall of the product acted unprofessionally when he visited the factory in the Central Region, giving credence to the fact that the FDA may have a sinister motive.
Furthermore, there is currently a backlog of new COA FAS products awaiting testing and certification by the FDA but no move has been made by the regulatory body.
The herbal company has been compelled by the FDA to issue a statement, accepting blame, according to our sources.
The FDA under normal circumstances is required to give some time to companies to recall products from the market by themselves before going public. But this was not the case with COA FS as the FDA immediately made the announcement after its so-called testing.
So, the million-dollar question is, “Is the FDA really punishing COA FS Herbal Center or it is just flexing its muscles to a genuine company?”