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Supreme Court upholds FDA’s directive banning celebrities from endorsing alcoholic drinks

The Supreme Court in a 5-2 majority decision has upheld the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA’s) directive banning celebrities from endorsing alcoholic drinks.

The seven-member panel presided over by Chief Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo held that the FDA guideline was not unreasonably excessive and same was not in contravention with the 1992 Constitution.

‘The plaintiff’s action therefore fails and there would be no order as to cost because the issue is a novel one,’ the Court said.

It, therefore, dismissed the suit against the FDA.

The FDA in the year 2015 issued a directive banning celebrities from endorsing alcoholic beverages.

The Authority held that the ban was to protect minors as well ensure public health safety.

Mark Darlington Osae, an artiste manager, proceeded to the apex court challenging the FDA’s directives saying it was a violation of equality and discriminatory against the creative industry.

The plaintiff, therefore, went to the Supreme Court to overturn the directives of the FDA by suin
g the Authority on November 11, 2022, arguing the directive would deprive the entertainment industry or celebrities of their potential income.

He held that the FDA’s directive, which prohibited well- known personalities or professionals from advertising alcoholic drinks contravened Articles 17 (1) and (2) of the 1992 Constitution.

The plaintiff contended that Articles 17 (1) and (2) guaranteed equality and same did not discriminate against persons on grounds of social or economic status, occupation among others, hence rendering the FDA directive null and void and prayed to the Supreme Court to declare the FDA’s directive as unconstitutional .

He also sought proper and true interpretation of Articles 17 (1) (2) and an order striking down the FDA’s guidelines on advertisements of food published by the Authority.

The plaintiff again sought a perpetual injunction against the Authority, its agents, servants, or assigns or servants, who would act under the FDA guidelines on advertisement of foods by preventing
any celebrity from advertisement for any alcoholic drinks.

Mr Joseph Bennie, Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs, FDA, said well-known personalities must help protect the youth against alcohol abuse, adding that the FDA wanted them to assist or partner the Authority in speaking against alcoholism.

‘We do not agree with the Supreme Court decision, but there is nothing we can do. We really want to dialogue with the FDA to know what to do or what not to do because as of now, alcoholic companies continue to sponsor shows,’ Nii Foli Yartey, a friend of the plaintiff and President of Ghana Music Alliance, told journalists after the ruling.

Source: Ghana News Agency