President of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr. (Med) Frank Serebour, is urging the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to promptly sample and authenticate drugs cleared at the port.

Dr. Serebour emphasized the importance of checking for expired or compromised drugs due to improper storage conditions.

He highlighted concerns about 11-month-old uncleared drugs at the port, stressing the necessity of proper storage to maintain their efficacy.

“We’re discussing approximately 11 months’ worth of uncleared drugs at the port. Every drug has a specified condition for storage to achieve its expiration date”, he opined.

He further suggested that prolonged storage under unfavorable conditions could render the drugs unfit for their intended purpose. Dr. Serebour urged the FDA to assess samples to ensure their quality and suitability.

“It is possible that since we didn’t store the drugs in the proper condition and left them at the port for months, they may not be suitable for their intended purpose. Therefore, I advocate that the FDA should pick and test samples to determine whether they are suitable for their intended purpose or not”, he stressed.

Dr. Serebour, in an interview with Millicent Safo-Adu on Bresosem at Abusua965FM, criticized the Ministry of Health for delays in clearing the Global Fund medical supplies. He emphasized the importance of initiating clearance processes early to avoid such delays.

He contended “I will lay this issue at the doorstep of the Ministry of Health. I will blame them because they control the date, the number of products, and the type of products that are coming, including the ship bringing the goods. We have laws in this country, so they must start the clearance process earlier so that by the time the goods arrive, they will already have the necessary clearance”.

He shared his experience of efficiently clearing medical supplies in the past and stressed the need for a streamlined clearance process within the Ministry of Health.

“When I heard that the delayed drugs had been locked at the port, I was a little bit skeptical, asking myself, How does this happen? Before you intend to bring some items, start the process. I’ve been in the same situation before, but it didn’t take me long to clear it and deliver. The Ghana Health Service picked up the goods and delivered them to us in Bekwai; we didn’t struggle”, he opined.

Dr. Serebour also questioned the reliance on donated drugs, advocating for a focus on essential program drugs like TB and HIV medications.

He contended “Program drugs like TB and HIV medications are crucial, and we certainly need them. However, I find myself questioning why we are asking for donations of anti-malarial drugs, such as ACTs. After all, we produce some of these drugs domestically, and we have enough to manage our own healthcare system”.

Additionally, he called for transparency in donations to prevent misuse and emphasized the need for a dedicated unit within the Ministry of Health to oversee clearance processes and ensure timely delivery of medical supplies to healthcare facilities.

“I know people brought some health items into the country all in the name of donating to a health facility but end up keeping them to avoid tax waivers. If you want to ship some health items to a hospital, mention the name and state the reasons why these items are being donated, and provide the hospital with the necessary documents for clearance. I believe the Ministry of Health must have a unit managing some of these processes, ensuring that even if donations are meant for KATH, they are cleared and delivered to them”, he stated.


The Ministry of Health (MoH) on April 12 received 14 out of 182 containers at the Tema Port holding essential medicines for antiretroviral, Tuberculosis (TB), and malaria treatments donated by the Global Fund (GF).

The essential medical commodities, including antiretroviral drugs for HIV patients, were stuck at the Tema port for almost a year due to the government’s inability to settle third-party fees.

Source: Ghana/ Owusu