The Accra High Court has thrown out a contempt case filed by the Cosmetics Association of Ghana (CAG) against the Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Ms Delese Mimi Darko, and the Head of Communications of the FDA, Mr James Lartey.
The court, presided over by Mrs Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, also awarded cost of GH¢2000 against the CAG.
The CAG had prayed the court to commit the FDA and the two named officials for contempt for a January 19, 2019 publication which warned the public not to patronise cosmetic products that contained hydroquinone.
According to the CAG, the FDA made the publication when the court had not yet made a determination on an interlocutory injunction it had filed seeking to restrain the FDA from implementing a ban on skin products that contained hydroquinone until the final determination of a suit challenging the ban.
The, court, however, held that the FDA did not act contemptuously when it made the publication, since such an act was the statutory duty of the authority.
“I hold and find as a fact that the publications complained of were done in carrying out the statutory mandate of the Food and Drugs Authority as set out under Act 851,” Mrs Justice Asare-Botwe held.
The FDA commenced the implementation of the ban on the import and sale of skin care products containing hydroquinone from August 2016.
According to the authority, the ban was in accordance with a directive from the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA).
Dissatisfied with the directive, the CAG sued the FDA and the GSA on December 20, 2017 following the ban on all skin care products containing hydroquinone.
The association, in the writ, argued that its members had for years been importing skin care products containing hydroquinone through the ports.
It added that all imports were done with approval from the two institutions after payment of appropriate fees and charges.
The writ averred 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.
“There is scientific and medical proof that two per cent hydroquinone in creams and lotions has no harmful effects on the human body,” it said.
“The total ban on the product has no factual, medical or scientific basis and same is, therefore, illegal, unreasonable, unfair and unconstitutional,” it added.