Herbal oil ads: Govinda tells FDA he was unaware of laws

Last month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had filed 67 complaints at police stations across the state under various sections of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable advertisements) Act, 1955. These include complaints against advertisements of products such as ‘Sandhi Sudha plus’, ‘Step up herbal oil’ and ‘Power Prash’, which are promoted by leading Bollywood stars.

Innocent: Govinda, who featured in an advertisement (below), wrote a letter to the FDA assuring to speak to the manufacturer to withdraw the ad

The FDA had lodged complaints, demanding action against the drug manufacturers, scriptwriters and actors who promote the products, as well as television channels on which they are aired. Hence, among other Bollywood stars, actor Govinda who has been promoting herbal oil on national television was also issued a show cause notice where FDA had claimed that the actor was promoting the misleading product to the common man.

“Promoting such drugs is a complete violation of the law. These advertisements are completely misleading and companies end up extracting huge amounts from unsuspecting people who see the ads. Hence, we had written to Bollywood stars telling them not to violate the law. We have recently received a reply from Govinda, who claimed his innocence as he was unaware of the law,” said a source from FDA.

D R Gahane, assistant commissioner (drugs), confirming the same said, “We have received a letter from Govinda stating he was unaware of the law and he has assured us that he will speak to the manufacturer to withdraw the ad.”

FDA officials added that violation of the act could result in six months imprisonment, a fine or both, for the first conviction. Subsequent convictions would lead to imprisonment for a year or fine or both. “We have recently booked many others under objectionable advertisements Act, 1955
When asked about the show cause notice issued by FDA, Govinda in an SMS to MiD DAY said, “You don’t have to be a scientist to do a toothpaste ad. As an actor, I did my job.”

Drug and Remedies Act
The Act aims to control false advertisement of drugs (including those that claim that their drugs have magic qualities).
It states that unless prescribed by a registered medical practitioner, no person or company shall take part in publication of an advertisement referring to any drug that is used for:
1) Procurement of miscarriage in women or prevention of conception.
2) Maintenance or improvement of the capacity for sexual pleasures
3) Correction of menstrual disorder in women
4) Diagnosis, mitigation, cure or prevention of any disease specified in the act.

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