Notices sent to media houses for publishing misleading ads

Jan 11, 2013, 07:43 IST | Anup Satphale

The Pune division of the Food and Drug administration (FDA) has slapped various media houses � print and broadcast � on the wrist for publishing advertisements banned under The Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.

The Act prohibits publishing or broadcasting of advertisements that claim to cure incurable diseases completely. Last month, 18 notices were sent to several media houses, while four have been sent this month, said FDA officials. Following the notices received, a few media houses have stopped publishing the ads in question. 

Section 3, 4 and 5 of the Act says that no person shall take any part in the publication of any advertisement referring to any drug in terms which suggest or are calculated to lead to the use of that drug for (a) the procurement of miscarriage in women or prevention of conception in women; or (b) the maintenance or improvement of the capacity of human beings for sexual pleasure; or (c) the correction of menstrual disorder in women; or (d) the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any disease, disorder or condition specified in the Schedule, or any other disease, disorder or condition (by whatsoever name called).

On the lookout
“We regularly scan various newspapers looking for ads banned under the Act. Most of these objectionable adverts relate to increasing sexual pleasure, sexual organs, curing impotency and many more,” said Ramchandra Bhilare, additional commissioner FDA (drug), Pune division. “After identifying the ads, we send notices to the firms publishing or broadcasting them. Last month, 18 notices were sent to several media houses, and they have reacted positively by not publishing the ads. But, the media has to be more responsible,” said Bhilare.

Recent action 
Speaking about action taken against one regional news channel that violated the laws, B R Masal, joint commissioner FDA (Drug) Pune, division said, “Recently, we had registered an FIR against a Hindi language news channel for advertising a product named ‘Power Prash’ product. The advertisement claimed that the product enhances sexual power in men, and increases pleasure. Promoting such drugs is a complete violation of the law. The FIR was filed at Deccan police station.” 

Medicines worth r4 lakh seized
FDA officials raided a medical shop in Baner and seized medicines worth Rs 4 lakh recently for violating the Drug and Cosmetic Act, 1940. The FDA had earlier revoked the licence of Saideep Medical and General store for several violations. “The owner, Bhimram Choudhari, had violated the Act, and acting on it we had cancelled his licence in March last year. But Choudhari continued to sell medicines. In May, we raided his store and seized medicines worth Rs 5 lakh, and a case was filed against the owner,” said Ramchandra Bhilare, additional commissioner FDA (drug), Pune division. “The drug store continued operations despite a case filed in the court. Hence we raided the shop again in December last month, and seized medicines worth Rs 4 lakh. We will now slap another case against the owner,” said Bhilare.  

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