New Delhi: Companies offering magic pills for ailments ranging from common illness to life threatening diseases such as cancer and AIDS are now under the government scanner. The I&B ministry through advisories has asked television channels not to air their promos.
Alongside fake and substandard medicines, the market of magic pills has been thriving on misleading and false claims. It has emerged a big menace with social media and sponsored content in TV fuelling the growth of magic pills.
The World health Organisation (WHO) has raised the alarm bell, saying fake drugs have become a big threat and might be killing tens of thousands of people. It estimates the global fake drugs market at about USD 30 billion.
The information and broadcasting ministry (I&B) has issued instructions to all TV channels to advertise only those ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy (AYUSH) products which have valid manufacturing licence.
“They have also been told to abstain from telecasting such misleading advertisements which are in contravention of the provisions of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and rules thereunder,” an official said.
Further, the ministry of AYUSH has signed an MoU with Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) to undertake comprehensive monitoring of the quality of advertisements pertaining to alternative drugs in print and visual media.
Besides crackdown on misleading advertisement, the Centre has forwarded consumer complaints to the concerned state drug regulator for taking action in accordance with the legal provisions.
The Centre administers both Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act, 1954. It has further decided to prepare fresh legislation for regulating drugs.
The AYUSH ministry has already provided inputs to frame regulatory provisions pertaining to alternative medicines and prohibition of their misleading advertisements.
The Ministry of AYUSH is pursuing the matter of introducing prohibitive measures for misleading advertisements and has notified draft Rules under Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, 1940. It has also constituted an empowered committee (EC) for controlling the publication of inappropriate and misleading advertisement/exaggerated claims of the alternative drugs.