Accra, May 6, GNA – The Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), a non-governmental organization, has lauded the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) for placing a temporarily ban on Adonko Bitters, an alcoholic beverage.
The FDA had placed a ban on Adonko Bitters after patrons of the product, due to excessive intake during a sponsored event, passed out at an ‘Easter Monday Adonko Bitters Aseda Bash’ at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi.
The event was organized by the Angel Group of Companies, the manufacturers of the product on Monday, April 17, to reward loyal consumers of the product.
VALD said this in a statement signed jointly by its Director, Mr Issah Ali and Mr Labram Musah, the Operations Director and copied the Ghana News Agency.
It said the organisers of the Aseda Bash had violated Section 3.2.19 of the FDA guidelines for the advertisement of food products that governs their operations and engagement.
VALD quoted a statement by the FDA saying: ‘The criterion for gaining access to the concert was solely on condition that each individual purchased a 750ml bottle of the alcoholic beverage at a cost of GH¢10.00, a situation which resulted in the alcoholic beverage being sold to minors as well.
‘It also resulted in excessive consumption, clearly putting the consumers at risk of flouting the caution of drinking responsibly.’
VALD said it was clear from the FDA’s guidelines that the Adonko Bitters had violated the rules of Section 3.2.19 which states that: ‘No alcoholic beverage shall be advertised in relation to a public function where persons under the legal drinking age are likely to attend.’
It expressed surprise at some public comments to the effect that the action taken by the FDA was harsh, unfair and some even went as far as claiming that the FDA was collapsing businesses.
VALD said: ‘Is it wrong to suspend the registration and advertisement license of Angle Group of Companies whilst investigation into the incident continues?
It said there is the need for the authorities to carefully monitor the influx of alcoholic advertisement on our airwaves.
‘Only few programmes on the television and radio are aired without an advert on alcoholic products. We must be mindful that our kids who are the future generations are glued to TV every day from morning to evening,’ it said.
VALD said the harmful use of alcohol has been a cause for great concern globally and even at the nation level – our parliamentarians recently called for regulation of the alcoholic industry.
‘The current trend of consumption and the inadequate regulation of alcohol advertisements in both the print and electronic media is a source of worry.
‘The misuse of alcohol causes many problems ranging from serious health and socio-economic effects which ends up affecting the family, community and society as a whole. It is one of the major causes of non-communicable diseases in the world today,’ it said.
VALD said scientific evidence have proven that before the ages of 25 years, the human brain is still undergoing development and the ‘prefrontal cortex’ is the area of the brain that governs judgment and decision-making, and it is the last part of the brain to develop.
‘This amongst other reasons is why people less than 25 years old are more prone to risk-taking behaviours like the use of psychoactive substances leading to addiction, whilst this also explains why persons 25 years and below are particularly vulnerable to alcohol and drug abuse, and why exposure to alcohol and other psychoactive drugs before this critical time of their lives may cause future substance use issue,’ it said.
VALD said it is important to also note that the harm caused by alcohol is acknowledged globally that was why the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) specifically Goal 3.5 states: ‘Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.’
The Goal emphasizes that alcohol is a major obstacle to achieving the SDGs.
VALD urged the Ministry of Health to as a matter of urgency to take active interest in the development of an appropriate Alcohol Regulation framework to effectively regulate the alcohol industry.
It said they were much concerned about the medium to long term effects of alcohol use which would negatively affect the development of the country and that they support the action of the FDA.
VALD said the FDA’s position is to ensure the protection of public health and this is unlike the manufacturer whose interest is to make profit at the expense of its consumers and urged the Authority to be resolute in its efforts.