New Delhi: The Ministry of Ayush’s recent notification mandating manufacturers to seek approval from the State Licensing Authority (SLA) for advertisement of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani (ASU) products has met with opposition from the Ayurvedic Drug Manufacturers Association (ADMA).
The ADMA is of the view that with the existing two regulations- Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 (DMRA) and Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)— to monitor the advertisements of ASU products, one more regulatory body is an unnecessary stricture.
The ADMA strongly reiterated that misleading advertisements was a problem of weak implementation, rather than regulation; since DMRA and ASCI were already there as watchdogs . The Association was of the opinion that the State Drug Departments was presently ill equipped to handle additional technical work and therefore, in the absence of adequate level of competence, would not be able to take prompt decisions on advertisements submitted for approval by the ASU. This they felt would lead to causing setbacks in sale, as advertisements go a long way in convincing people about the efficacy of products, as reported to Pharmabiz.
The Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani advertisements are also regulated by the DMRA. However, there are diseases like cancer, blindness, appendicitis, deafness etc which are covered under both the act and the draft 170. According to the ADMA, this duplicity could lead to confusion, both in the minds of the manufacturers and the authorities. This being the case, as the former may not know which act to comply with, and in the case of the latter, interpretation of the advertisement might vary, between two authorities. This they felt might cause uncertainty in the minds of the manufacturers.
The DMRA in an effort to resolve the possible conflicting situation from arising, suggested that if an advertisement was approved by the state drug department, it should have an overriding impact and no authority ASCI or consumer forum should be allowed to question it.
The Association also suggested that the government put down a guideline for advertisements, to be followed by the drug department prior to giving approval. This, the DMRA felt would help manufactures, as they would make their ads in accordance and giving less chances of rejection to the drug department, as well. The Association also asked for exemption in the case of advertisements related to preventive medicine, as they felt these came under traditional practice.They insisted that selling of these should be left to the manufacturer, who is supposed to highlight their properties in an appealing manner, to attract customers to it.