Kwame Sarpong Asiedu charges government to further research herbal drugs, enforce stricter regulation of the sector

Pharmacist Kwame Sarpong Asiedu, has charged the government to promote further research into herbal medicine and at the same time enforce a stricter regulation of the sector based on existing laws.

Speaking at a lecture delivered at the British Council Hall on the theme “Down Memory Lane: From 1993 to the Present,” where the focus was on Ghana’s democracy and its consequential impact on public health, he stated that the lax regulation of the herbal industry was a matter of grave concern.

According to him, while there have been major discoveries in herbal medicine and some groundbreaking research into the efficacy of some herbs in ailment treatment, he said the recent proliferation of herbal medicine adverts touting their ability to cure even incurable illnesses must be checked to protect the population.

“There is the forgotten populace who rely on traditional medicine, priests, fetishes, juju men and outright quacks. Their percentage is not clearly defined but is known to be significant. They are forgotten because though there are merits in herbal medicines, we see many of these products being touted as cures for all sorts of ailments some of which can only be managed and not cured.

“How in a democracy, we allow such reckless commentary about healthcare in clear violation of our laws whilst these concoctions damage the liver, kidneys and other organs is just disgraceful. Unfortunately, when these organs are damaged, many who fall into this cohort lack the financial clout to access services such as kidney dialysis. Can this be said to be a positive health dividend emanating from our democracy?” he said.

He stressed that while he is calling for stricter regulation of the herbal medicine industry, his call is not a frown on herbal medicine as the sector has great potential to address the health needs of Ghanaians.

“As a pharmacist, I am the first to acknowledge that the origins of many orthodox medicines are from plants. I am also aware of research done by leading light such as Professors Kwame Sarpong, AnsaAsamoah, Dwuma-Badu and Ayim into the efficacy of many plant extracts in Ghana.

“My call therefore is not a frown on herbal medicine but a charge for further research and stricter regulation of the sector based on existing laws. After all, I am inclined to believe we live in a democracy and not a banana republic,” he said.

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