FDA warns against skin lightening pills, injectables

Mrs Delese Darko (middle)  CEO of FDA addressing the press conference.Those with her are Mrs Akua Owusu Amartey (right) and Mr Jones Ofosu.Photo.Ebo Gorman

Mrs Delese Darko (middle) CEO of FDA addressing the press conference.Those with her are Mrs Akua Owusu Amartey (right) and Mr Jones Ofosu.Photo.Ebo Gorman

Females who use skin lightening pills and injectables are prone to diseases including miscarriages, cancer, hair loss, renal failure, and exacerbated asthma and lung complications, the Food and Drugs Authority has warned.

The FDA also warned pregnant women using those bleaching agents to lighten the skin of the unborn were exposing the babies to a lot of harm.

The Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Mrs Delese Darko gave the warning at a media briefing yesterday in Accra.

According to her, preliminary investigations revealed that Glutathione is one of such products currently abused by women in the country.

Mrs Darko said Glutathione is made up of three amino acids; cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine and are natural products found in every cell in the body and possesses antioxidant properties that plays  a role in the detoxification of drugs and xenobiotics.

She said when used as a dietary supplement of 250 -300mg daily, it strengthens the immune system, fight inflammation and acid in cellular repair.

The CEO indicated that though the authority has registered some brands as food supplements in minimal doses, it should not be marketed as a drug or cosmetics adding that FDA intelligence and market surveillance has revealed that the Glutathione in the market has dosages ranging 1,500 to 2000mg per tablet.

She stated that these high strength Glutathione illegally sold in the open market  which include; Gluta Prime, Phyto Collagen, King of Whitening, Gluta White Ivory capsules, and skin enhancement formula have not been registered and urged the public not to patronise it; anyone who does so does it at his or her own risk as the quality and efficacy cannot be guaranteed.

Mrs Darko said while the side effect of Glutathione may be desirous for those seeking to bleach, scientific information may not be available on the safety or effect  of  long term use as skin bleaching agent.

She cautioned pregnant women and lactating mothers against the use of such products since its current dosage may cause serious health implications for them and their babies.

The CEO said the FDA has intensified monitoring of border posts and market surveillance across the country selling and would deal severely with those offering them for sale.

Mrs Darko said though a number of arrests have been made, culprits are not willing to name their suppliers since they bought them from peddling suppliers.

She commended the Ministry of Health for banning the sale and importation of Tramadol and Codeine containing cough syrups and urged the media to continue exposing the sale of these drugs.

The CEO said the FDA would continue collaborating with the Pharmacy Council, the Police and NACOB to ensure that the use and abuse of Tramadol and Codeine containing cough mixture is dealt with.

BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA- AKPALU AND GRACE BAAH

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