New Delhi: Appreciating the efforts made by the AYUSH Ministry to monitor misleading advertisements on herbal products, a Parliamentary panel has found that 65 percent of these advertisements were withdrawn or rectified and the rest forwarded to State AYUSH drug regulators.
The Standing Committee of Health and Family Welfare that went into this matter, was of the view that collaborative efforts of the ministry along with the Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and State Government had given results as misleading advertisements with respect to Ayush drugs which had been unregulated so far, had been controlled to an extent.
In an effort to prevent misleading advertisements on AYUSH medicine, the Ministry of AYUSH has signed an MoU with Advertising Standards Council of India for suo motu monitoring of Ayush advertisements appearing in print and tv and bring the defaulters to the notice of respective state regulators, Department of Consumer Affairs (DOCA) while the Food and Public Administration has launched GAMA (Grievances Against Misleading Advertisements) portal wherein Ayush products related complaints of misleading ads are inter-alia filed by the public.
Between April 2015 to January 2018, the Ministry received 804 written and online complaints of improper advertisements/claims allegedly of herbal/Ayush products which had been brought to its notice.
The Committee said the need of the hour was to strictly monitor and regulate misleading ads for promoting the sale of Ayush medicine and hence the role of the ministry was pivotal in proactively pursuing the issue with other departments/ministries/ASCI on a regular basis.
However, it expressed dismay that in the matter of new legislation it was ”still in the process of being framed by the Department of Health and Family Welfare” and noted that it had been more than two years since the process was on and spoke volumes about the ”laidback approach” of the HFW ministry and also the AYUSH ministry.
The panel strongly recommended that a definite timeline within which the legislation would see the light of the day be indicated and the AYUSH ministry should aggressively pursue the matter with the HFW ministry so that the relevant provisions were incorporated in the legislation and enacted so as to prohibit misleading ads and strengthen effective regulation of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homeopathy drugs (ASU&H) drugs.
About 621 gazetted officers in 22 states had been appointed to enforce and take action against erring advertisers and media regulators too had been approached to prevent publication of inappropriate advertisements promoting the sale of Ayush medicines in public interest.
Similarly, the I & B Ministry had on July 22, 2017, issued instructions/guidelines to
all media channels to advertise only those products which had valid manufacturing license and to abstain from telecasting such misleading ads which were in contravention of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and Rules thereunder.
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