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Sex-enhancing drugs killing Ghanaians – says FDB

By James Harry Obeng

What is not evident yet to most Ghanaian men who are eagerly patronizing various brands of aphrodisiacs is the risk of dying from the toxic chemicals contained in them, the Food and Drug Board (FDB) has stated unequivocally.

The board has gone further to state that many cardiac-arrest problems killing Ghanaians might be due to the abuse of these substances. Aphrodisiacs are drugs or foods that are said to give people a strong desire for sex. Some are called ‘Spanish Fly.”

Some of the brands are in various packaging, colours and shades which are said to be manufactured in the USA and China.

They include Pentium Viagra whose capsules have been packaged to look like laptop computers.

Rev Jonathan Y. Martey, the acting deputy Chief Executive in charge of drugs at the FOB, who spoke to Spectator noted with grave concern the craze for those sex enhancing drugs, saying laboratory investigations by the FOB has shown that most of the aphrodisiacs being peddled particularly what is showcased as ‘Viagra’ contain chemicals which could have extremely devastating effects on users.

Rev Martey said the compound sildenafil citrate which is the same chemical found in the original Viagra is sometimes found in these herbal medicines when in fact a herbal drug should not contain any synthetic compound.

He said another synthetic compound, tadalafil, meant for treating sexual dysfunction and found in the Chinese herbal aphrodisiacs render them impure and dangerous to health.

Rev Martey said in the case of original Viagra from Pfizer, registered with the FDB, its quality, safety and efficacy can be verified. He said even in the case of original Viagra, the manufacturers do not permit people who have heart conditions to use it. This is because the Viagra operates by drawing a lot of blood to the male organ to ensure erection and the person who has a heart disease might have the heart beating faster.

He clarified that the Chinese government is not involved but some clandestine laboratories might be producing those drugs.

Rev Martey said the craze for the drugs might be due to the over-emphasis of the Ghanaian these days on sex which is also becoming the pre-occupation of some of the youth.

He said the internet which contains pornography is also driving the youth to demonstrate that they can over-perform when it comes to sex.
Rev Martey said alcohol, peer pressure, some kinds of music and suggestive dances that people patronize make them to think that they should end it all up in bed.

He admitted that many people have sexual problems, but people ought to see their doctors to be thoroughly examined for appropriate drugs to be designed for their specific conditions.

Rev Martey said the doctors would after examination prescribe appropriate drugs for premature ejaculation, but quickly added that there are conditions that are merely psychological.

According to him, while some of these aphrodisiacs are purported to be coming from USA and China, their exact origins are often in doubt.

Rev Martey said with the influx of these imported aphrodisiacs the high patronage of tree roots and barks, some of which are put in alcohol popularly called ‘bitters’, had gone down as people have now resorted to these capsules.

He said these products get into the country through unorthodox channels as they evade the checks that would ensure their registration which would provide the basis for ascertaining their efficiency.

Rev Martey blamed the situation on the porous nature of the country’s entry points and other unapproved routes at places such as Kojokrom in Brong-Ahafo and the Northern sector of the country. .

He said some bring those products through approved check-points but they are concealed under personal belongings, suitcases and travelling bags.

Rev Martey said some of the drug peddlers are also reported to be conniving with the security agencies and officers who are mandated to check them.

He said the peddlers have become sophisticated in recent times and well-dressed gentlemen in suit could be seen selling these drugs under the guise of promoting a new product when they are actually involved in a brisk business.

He said that for some months now the FDB in partnership with the police have been undertaking some swoops at the markets and various places “to clean them of these products, but the situation still persists.”

“The board is on the verge of changing its strategy to get ahead of the peddlers and bring them under reasonable control,” he said.

He said a multi-sectoral meeting with stakeholders will soon be held by the FDB to map out a more efficient and effective strategy to clean our markets of these products.

He advised people who genuinely have problems with erectile dysfunctions to seek medical attention to ensure that their physical health is not impaired.

In an interaction with some of the peddlers at Kinbu in Accra, they said it is not only the youth that patronise their wares but also older people.

“Most of our clients are aged people come to buy our wares in bulk,” said a peddler who wished not to be identified.

Another peddler, who gave her name as Esenam justified the trade in aphrodisiacs, saying they are rendering a very useful service to society so government should give them loans to expand their businesses.

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September 25, 2008 - Posted by | News

44 Comments »

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