MoH bans codeine cough syrups, restricts access to tramadol

Ministry of Health has imposed a ban on the sale of codeine induced cough syrups and restricted access to tramadol induce drugs  in pharmacies or chemical shops nationwide with immediate effect.

It said such drugs will not be reclassified and dispensed as “Prescription Only Medicines” and shall not be prescribed and dispensed at health facilities below the level of District Hospitals.

This comes after growing public concern over the abuse of tramadol and codeine in the country especially among young people.


According to the Food and Drugs Authority, one of the regulatory agencies ensuring full compliance of the new directive, market surveillance will be intensified to ensure that the market is free from such drugs.


The Head of Communications of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), James Lartey in a Citi News interview noted that sanctions will be imposed on pharmacies and chemical shops that defy the order.


“The Ministry of Health has signed an executive instrument banning the sale of cough syrup containing codeine. As a regulator, we will continue to do our market surveillance to ensure that the products are not on the market. We will go round, not just the FDA but the Pharmacy Council and other relevant agencies will do a joint work. If it is found in a shop, the necessary regulatory sanction will be taken.


The FDA in a public notice on the matter said, “the Executive Instrument for the Control of the Importation, Manufacture and Sale of Tramadol and Tramadol containing products (E. I168) is promulgated in accordance with the exercise of the powers conferred on the Minister for Health by section 116 of the Public Health Act, 2012 (Act 851).”




It added that “the Executive Instrument for the Restriction of Importation, Manufacture and Registration of Codeine containing Cough Syrups (E. I. 167) is promulgated in accordance with the powers conferred on the Minister for Health by section 116 of the Public Health Act, 2012 (Act 851).”




The Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, earlier this year said the abuse of the opioid, Tramadol, had become a national threat that must be urgently tackled.


He said there was the need for concerted efforts from the public and stakeholders in the health sector to address the problem before it depletes the country’s human resources.


There is a growing trend of Tramadol abuse among Ghanaian youth in some parts of the country.


Recent surveys have shown the drug is also used among market women, drivers, and in some cases, students.


The abuse of Tramadol, a pain relief drug, according to medical experts, functions like heroin and can cause psychotic problems as well as damage vital organs in the human body.

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