An Accra high court is to continue hearing a lawsuit brought against the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) for placing a ban on bleaching creams.
The court presided over by Justice Daniel Mensah, had dismissed a preliminary objection filed by lawyers for FDA which sought to throw out the case because it was not properly filed.
In August last year, the FDA and the GSA placed a ban on the importation, marketing and sale of some creams containing hydroquinone – a chemical which causes bleaching of the skin.
According to them, the issue of skin bleaching had become a public health concern hence, the need to place the ban to control the situation.
But members of the Cosmetics Association of Ghana who were not happy with the decision, took the matter to court on December 20, 2017, to seek redress.
According to them, they had imported creams containing hydroquinone through the ports over the years, marketed them and duly paid the necessary levies to the FDA and the GSA without any objection.
Members of the association contend that they did not receive any prior notice from the two bodies regarding the ban, only for their shops to be raided and the products seized.
This, they claim, constitutes a violation of their rights and are praying the court to lift the ban on the importation and sale of bleaching creams.
The association has argued that there is no scientific confirmation that hydroquinone poses any health problems on those who use the creams.
Even before the merit of the case was determined, the lawyer for the FDA had raised a preliminary objection challenging the mode by which the Cosmetics Association of Ghana evoked the jurisdiction of the court and what it is seeking.
According to the counsel, they should have filed a judicial review seeking a certiorari to quash the decision instead of seeking a certiorari when they had filed a writ of summons.
Counsel noted that this practice is not right, and challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter.
Justice Daniel Mensah however, overruled the objection, saying he was minded by a Supreme Court decision on the same issue which allowed for the process adopted by the plaintiffs.
The judge said he would have ruled in favour of the FDA had it not been for the latest development – referring to the Supreme Court ruling.
Hearing continues on May 23, 2018.