Supreme Court Upholds FDA Ban on Celebrities Endorsing Alcohol, Impacting Creative Arts Industry

by Louisa Afful
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The Supreme Court has upheld the Food and Drugs Authority’s (FDA) directive prohibiting celebrities from endorsing alcoholic drinks, ending a nineteen-month legal challenge by Mark Darlington Osae, CEO of Black Kulcha Music. Chief Justice Gertrude Torkornoo delivered an abridged version of the ruling on Wednesday, June 19, affirming that the FDA’s directive does not violate the constitution.

This decision means that well-known personalities and professionals are permanently barred from appearing in advertisements promoting alcoholic beverages. Only George Quaye from the showbiz industry attended the court session on the day of the decision.

Mark Darlington Osae had filed a lawsuit against the FDA, arguing that their directive, enforced since 2015, unfairly discriminates against the creative arts industry. He contended that the prohibition on celebrities endorsing alcohol violated constitutional provisions guaranteeing equality before the law.

The FDA had implemented these regulations citing concerns that celebrity endorsements could encourage underage drinking. They argued that restricting such endorsements was necessary to protect public health and prevent potential harm from alcohol consumption among minors.

Joseph Bennie, Director for Legal and Corporate Affairs at FDA, welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling, stating that the authority would take steps to ensure compliance with the ban on celebrity endorsements of alcoholic beverages.

However, representatives of the plaintiff, including Nii Ofoli Yartey from the Ghana Music Alliance, expressed disappointment with the court’s decision. They vowed to continue advocating against the FDA directive, asserting that it unfairly limits the income opportunities available to individuals in the creative arts industry.

The full details of the court’s ruling are expected to be released to the public on Friday, June 21.

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