Some people claiming to have a cure for the coronavirus have been arrested after an exposé by investigative reporter Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
In a documentary, in collaboration with the BBC Africa Eye, the investigative reporter unveiled a herbal medicine syndicate producing toxic concoctions that are sold to unsuspecting people in Ghana.
Under the brand name Dr Abdallah Herbal Mixture, the product has been labelled ‘COVID Cure 1’ and was being sold to the public though it was not registered by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).
The suspects were captured in a six-minute video in which they sold three bottles of the concoctions for GH¢ 1,000 to the undercover reporter.
The products were advertised on the radio as a cure though the World Health Organisation has insisted there is no proven remedy for the contagion that has killed 112 people in Ghana as at Monday, June 29.
One of the suspects, who appeared on radio, had claimed that the product was not for sale.
When he was asked by the host of the programme about the efficacy of the supposed herbal cure for COVID-19, the self-styled herbal doctor’s answer was: “My confidence level is 99.9”.
He added that they were waiting for approval from the appropriate regulatory authorities. However, it was not the case as volumes of the bottle were being sold secretly via the mobile phone number advertised on the radio.
When the reporter followed up to their sales point, one of the suspects claimed: “This medicine is not for people to go and use it for trials before we know the potency of our medicine. We have given it to a lot of people and no one had given us negative feedback.”
“Some respected people have even taken their relatives out of hospitals. They drank the medicine and got healed,” his accomplice said, in the documentary.
Laboratory analysis of the mixture at the Ghana Standards Authority, however, revealed that the concoction contained toxic substances.
Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Delese Mimi Darko, said the product does not have their approval.
“Jesus Christ,” that was the reaction of the FDA boss, upon spotting the bottle of the mixture with the label ‘COVID-19 Cure’.
“Just by looking at the product, I can tell you it is not registered,” she noted.
“FDA will never allow you to put this on your product, ‘COVID Cure 1’
“Really it is a very serious crime and I am not joking with this,” she stressed.
The suspects were picked up later after investigations by the FDA.