The ‘Adonko Aseda’ Bash organized on Easter Monday, April 17, 2017 became a heated subject of discussion in Parliament yesterday when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Wa West, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, summoned the Minister for Health to answer a question on the event and its fallout.
The NDC MP asked the Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, about the sanctioning of Adonko Bitters Limited by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) after the company contravened the Public Health Law (Act 851, 2012) by organizing the event to allow people to get excessively intoxicated.
Some patrons were seen sleeping at the venue after the end of the programme.
The Minister, in responding to the question, wanted to know from the Wa West MP, which specific aspect of Act 851 the Adonko Bitters Limited breached, but legislator could not provide the specific portion of the Act.
However, in a general answer to the question, the Minister said that in the course of a regulatory cycle, a company may act in ways that would attract regulatory cautions and/or sanctions.
He indicated that the FDA became aware of the ‘Adonko Aseda Bash’ on Eastern Monday following media reports on April 12, 2017 that alleged that minors had attended that event and that there was excessive intoxication of patrons, leading to the loss of a life.
According to the Health Minister, the FDA immediately commenced investigations to ascertain the veracity of the information and that based on its preliminary findings, a letter dated April 26, 2017 titled, ‘Gross Disregard For Regulation On Alcoholic Beverages’ was sent to the company.
He said FDA discovered that the label on the ‘Adongo Bitters’ used during the bash differed from the original one that had been licensed to be on the market while the type of the bottle approved by FDA for bottling of the drink was not the same as the one used at the event.
The Minister indicated that the FDA subsequently suspended the company’s licence, pending further investigations
“The company was directed to recall all its products on the market and an administrative charge of GHC25,000 was imposed on the company pursuant to the fees and charges imposed by L.I. 2228.”
The Minister further explained that after those sanctions, samples of the drink were sent to the laboratory for examination, adding that after the examination, results showed that samples tested were comparable to the once submitted for the grant of market authorization.
The Minister indicated that after the examination, the FDA lifted the suspension imposed on the company on May 9, 2017 with some conditions to be met.
“The conditions were for the company to work with FDA to remedy issues of bottle shape, submit new labels for approval, ensure batch numbers are put on every production and also submit all adverts to the FDA for approval,” the Minister pointed out.
He noted that the FDA has since organized training for the management and staff of Adonko Bitters Limited to address the regulatory gaps that led to those infractions.
The Minister pointed out that the excessive intoxication by patrons cannot be directly linked to the consumption of ‘Adonko Bitters’ at the event because the doctors did not attribute the death of the individual to excessive consumption of ‘Adonko Bitters.’