An Accra High Court presided over by Justice Daniel Mensah has dismissed a preliminary application by the Food and Drugs Authority seeking to have a suit filed by the Cosmetics Association Ghana over the ban of some bleaching creams overturned.
The FDA which is the second respondent in the case filed a preliminary application challenging the procedure in which the Cosmetics Association filed the case before the court.
According to the FDA, the association had to come before the court with an application for judicial review instead of a writ. But delivering his ruling Justice Daniel Mensah said, despite the potent arguments by lawyers of the FDA a recent Supreme Court judgment has paved the way for the use of the procedure adopted by the Cosmetics Association.
The association, in the writ, argued that its members have for years been importing skin care products containing hydroquinone – the chemical which prompted the ban – through the ports with approval from the two institutions after paying for the appropriate fees and charges.
The association also argued that its members had imported, marketed and sold skin care and beauty products containing the banned chemical without any objections all these years and could not understand the motive behind the ban last year.
“The plaintiff is an association of cosmetics importers, wholesalers and retailers registered under the laws of Ghana and sue in a representative capacity for and on behalf of its members,” the statement said.
The association, in the writ, maintained that, “there is scientific and medical proof that two percent hydroquinone in creams and lotions has no harmful effects on the human body.
It added that, “the total ban on the product has no factual, medical or scientific basis and same is, therefore, illegal.”
The FDA commenced the implementation of the ban on import and sale of skin care products containing hydroquinone last year.
According to the Authority, the ban, which took effect from August 2016, was in accordance with a directive from the GSA.
The use of bleaching creams had become a growing public concern with some health practitioners warning against its use.
Being the regulatory authority, the FDA adopted the Ghana standard and began implementing it, cutting the registration of new products containing hydroquinone.
The acting Chief Executive of the authority, Mrs Mimi Darko, told a parliamentary committee on August 16, 2017, that her outfit was cracking down on the products already in the market.
She told the committee that the FDA had stopped registering products containing the chemical and had launched a sensitisation programme against the sale of the product in the market.
“The bleaching agent in most bleaching creams is hydroquinone and with the Ghana standard now, there should be zero percent hydroquinone in bleaching creams,” she said.